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Triangle looks to get moving again after Michael downs trees, closes roads

October 12, 2018

Large trees down in north Durham. (Photo from Rachel Overcash)

Sixty-one school districts across North Carolina were either closed or delayed Friday, and some roads remained littered with debris after Michael plowed through the region Thursday.

Downed trees and power lines were a problem for some morning commuters on Friday with several roads closed because of the roadway debris.

At a glance:

Another tree fell in the family’s backyard, taking out some power lines. The Baker family was staying at a relative’s home Thursday night.

In Chapel Hill, several trees fell on the iconic Carolina Inn. The tree was about three feet in diameter and caused only minor damage to the inn. No injuries were reported.

Plenty of students Thursday night stopped by to look, stunned to see such a large tree come down.

A sudden squall was visible just after 5 p.m. on a traffic camera over the Durham Freeway. The video shows the wind and rain rapidly picking up and visibility dropping to almost zero.

On Turnberry Circle in Durham, strong winds brought down a large tree in two pieces, sparing the home’s deck. Inside, the residents still had power, but they have a large clean-up task ahead.

“Coming out to walk my two little poodles, I had them on a leash, and the tree had already split. It was down, so we’re grateful that it’s not on either end of the house. It came really close but we’re so grateful,” Janice Monsein said.

A large tree also fell on a home on Club Boulevard, but homeowner Pete Gerend, and his wife and four children, were not harmed. The tree fell onto the roof of the house and wires that fell on top of the tree caused some sparks and smoke.

Gerend said he is thankful the final result was just minor damage to his home.

“I was actually outside checking on something. I came outside checking on something and was standing in the carport. I heard the wind kind of coming from the north and saw trees and heard one fall, a big one that must have been back here,” he said. “I was just paying attention and heard it crask and come down and it was over in a second.”

Gerend said his neighbors were “outstanding” and offered to help in any way possible.

In Raleigh, on Quail Hollow Road, homeowners were equally lucky. A tree fell, its roots completely lifting out of the saturated ground, but it toppled away from the house.

A tree limb that fell onto a truck and trailer at the State Fairgrounds injured one man, but officials said he was able to walk to an ambulance to be transported to an area hospital for examination.

Creedmoor Road was shutdown between Norwood Road and Interstate 540 after a tree fell on a power line and blocked the road. Authorities said residents in the area reported the fallen tree at about 7 p.m., but nobody has responded to teh scene. Authorities are not sure when the road will reopen.

On U.S. Highwway 64 West in Nash County, a fallen tree fell on a car, trapping the woman who was driving inside. Traffic came to a standstill as drivers got out of their cars and began ripping the tree apart with their bare hands.

The Good Samaritans were able to get driver Dallas Benson out safely. She was not injured, but said she was shaken up following the incident.

“I was driving and it literally just fell right on top of me. There was not stopping, no anything. It was scary because when it fell I was probably doing about 50 mph,” Benson said. “It just came. It was loud. It was a loud crash. I’m thankful, it could have been a lot worse.”

Highway 64 West was shut down for about a half hour Thursday evening as firefighters cut up the tree and cleared the road.

From Cary to Siler City and all across central North Carolina, reports of downed trees poured in and roads were blocked, hampering traffic already hindered by high water and winds.

Multiple trees were blocking Enon Road in Granville County from the Person County line to Range Road.

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