About 45,000 without power after Irma blows through parts of NC
Posted September 12
RALEIGH, N.C. — About 45,000 homes across North Carolina were without power Tuesday evening after Tropical Storm Irma blew through overnight.
Gov. Roy Cooper said there were about 75,000 customers without power at the peak of the outages, but the total was beginning to wane as crews began working. Most of the outages were in western counties, such as Buncombe, Mecklenburg and Jackson.
"As expected, this storm has brought strong winds and rains to North Carolina, especially in the western part of our state," Cooper said. "They saw impacts from this storm overnight."
No storm deaths have been reported in North Carolina, and no serious injuries had been reported early Tuesday. Mike Sprayberry, the director of North Carolina Emergency Management, said about 80 people were in shelters opened recently and about 400 meals were given out.
Wind gusts of nearly 50 mph were reported in the mountains, and the Blue Ridge Parkway remained closed Tuesday, which cut off access to Mount Mitchell State Park.
At Grandfather Mountain, the top wind gust was clocked at 68 mph.
Some schools were closed Tuesday and at least 25 other districts opened later than usual, Cooper said.
Department of Transportation crews cleared one rock slide on U.S. Highway 221 in McDowell County.
Bathers return to NC beaches
Just one day after Irma dumped inches of rain across the North Carolina coast, people were out enjoying the beach at Freeman Park in Carolina Beach shortly after it re-opened.
Jim and Kathy O'Neal were in town from Raleigh.
"It's absolutely gorgeous. I got out around 10 a.m.," Kathy O'Neal said.
She said they paid close attention to the storm.
"We watched it pretty carefully because we expected we might have to head back to Raleigh. We got a little rain overnight, and not much else, some wind," O'Neal said.
Michael Cramer, the town manager, said he was relieved.
"Well, we were relieved, but really until we knew exactly where the track was going which was somewhere around Saturday evening, we didn't really let our guard down too much," he said.
Cramer said several streets were closed overnight, including Canal Drive, due to minor flooding. The roads reopened Tuesday morning.
"Other than a little wind damage and trees and a little bit of flooding, we really survived well," he said.
Queen City cleans up downed trees
In Charlotte, work crews spent the day Tuesday clearing away large trees that were uprooted, causing some damage to homes.
At the height of the storm, more than 11,000 customers were without power in Mecklenburg County.
Russell Pound was asleep when he heard a large limb fall.
"It was a very loud thud," he said. "I thought the tree fell onto our roof."
His house was OK, but the power was out for hours.
"It was one o'clock in the morning when I heard this loud boom," said Kristin Kouri. "I saw this huge burst of light, and I looked out my window, and I couldn't see a thing."
On Merry Oaks Road, in east Charlotte, the wind pulled a massive oak tree out of the ground.
In Cabarrus County, wind gusts also sent trees tumbling.
The area received more than an inch of rain from Irma, but there were no reports of injuries or serious property damage.