Downed trees may make return to Triangle yards

Posted April 29, 2011 10:59 p.m. EDT
Updated April 29, 2011 11:01 p.m. EDT

The stacks of branches, leaves and plywood that scattered in the wind almost two weeks ago left a monumental cleanup task for residents and contractors in the Tar Heel State.
More than 6,000 homes were damaged when tornadoes swept across North Carolina April 16 killing 25 people. 
Since that time, trucks gathering storm debris have circled the storm-damaged areas, collecting debris. In the City of Raleigh, they route their loads to a facility on Patriot Drive. 
"It has been a lot of long days," said Chris McGee, Raleigh streets superintendent. 
Trucks line up to dump debris that is then tossed, ground and spit out as mulch. 
McGee said he has seen trucks from Wisconsin, Alabama and Florida. "Pick a state," he said. Professional debris haulers from across the country converged in North Carolina to help with the cleanup and to make a buck. 
"We hauled about 100,000 cubic yards, so we estimate we still have maybe 40 to 60,000 cubic yards left to go," McGee said.
The result ends up bagged and back at local retailers for sale to spruce up some of those storm-damaged yards.
"I think it is nice to see it is getting re-used," said Raleigh resident Anne Marie Kennedy. "I could use some mulch."
Some of that would-be mulch may be coming from her neighborhood. "There are huge trees gone," she said. She had to hire someone to cut down one of her large trees which had been tilted by the high winds.