Orange County News

Chapel Hill cleans up after Michael knocks down trees, power lines

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) - Hours after Tropical Storm Michael came through Orange County, people are cleaning up the damage left behind and awaiting crews to restore their electricity.

The storm brought down a 150-foot willow oak tree onto the historic Carolina Inn around 4:45 p.m. Thursday.

Tiffany Jackson, who manages sales and catering for the hotel, said wind gusts reached 59 miles an hour around the time the tree fell.

“It did impact a window in a guest room, but there’s no structural damage in the guest room. It’s just a little bit of water damage that we plan on taking care of over the weekend,” she said. “We’re very lucky the fact that it was kind of bad weather outside, so we didn’t have any civilians outside, employees anything like that.”

A crew came to the Carolina Inn Friday morning to begin the process of removing the tree. Jackson said she expected that will take until Tuesday to finish. While hotel managers don’t believe there’s any structural damage to the building, an engineer will come on Monday to take a look.

Jackson said nobody got hurt when the tree came down. The Carolina Inn planned to continue hosting events on the property Friday evening.

Meanwhile, other people dealt with not only damage from downed trees but also power outages.

As of 3:30 p.m. Friday, more than 365,000 customers in North Carolina were without power. In Orange County, Duke Energy estimated just over 10,000 customers were among those still waiting for the lights to come back on.

Fatima Sanchez came to work Friday at A Cleaner World at the Glenwood Square Shopping Center on Raleigh Road in Chapel Hill, which had been without power since Thursday evening.

At the dry cleaning service’s store, she was able to accept drop-offs Friday as well as cash and checks. But, there was little else she could get done.

"The lights were flickering. The computers were going down, and then rebooting and going down again,” she said about what it was like as the storm impacted the area.

Town spokesman Ran Northam said the town placed generators at 15 intersections as of Friday afternoon to keep traffic lights functioning.

More Stories

North Carolina News Headlines

Latest News

Video Center