Residents clean up after storms rip through area
By Mark Wineka
If you hadn’t figured it out, Thursday evening’s thunderstorms were a doozy.
As a brilliant sun shone on the disheveled Rowan County landscape Friday, road crews, private tree companies and utility workers scattered to the hardest hit areas to take care of all the problems.
The high winds and sheets of rain combined to cut down trees or knock down signs.
The trees crunched cars, fell on top of houses and downed utility lines.
Almost 5,000 Duke Energy customers in Rowan County lost power Thursday night. The company reported power had been restored to all but 142 Rowan customers by 5 p.m. Friday.
Most of the remaining isolated outages were in Salisbury and in western Rowan County near N.C. 150.
Cabarrus County had only one customer without power by Friday evening, as did Davie and Davidson counties, Duke reported.
“It was definitely worse here in Salisbury than it was out in the county,” said Tony Cinquemani, public services director for Salisbury.
The extended Fulton Heights area between Mooresville Road and Elm Street was especially hit hard, Landscape Division Manager Mark Martin said.
He described the storm through that area as “almost like a microburst.”
The winds twisted the tops out of trees, Martin said, and proved too much for bigger neighborhood trees already in decline and decaying.
Fallen trees crushed three cars in the 500 block of Maupin Avenue.
Cinquemani said three large trees were lost in Chestnut Hill Cemetery. Two monuments in the cemetery also were damaged.
The city of Salisbury’s landscaping and street crews worked until 1 a.m. Friday, then returned at 7 a.m. to spend a whole day of clearing trees and scattered yard debris from streets.
Meanwhile, residents called on private tree companies to deal with the fallen trees on their properties.
Insurance adjusters also were combing the hardest hit areas.
Salisbury Fire Department’s West Innes Street station, which keeps a daily log of precipitation, measured 2.31 inches of rain in the 24-hour period that included Thursday evening’s thunderstorms.
Reports of downed trees were still coming in at 4 p.m. Friday, Martin said. In all, Martin estimated his office received about 30 calls to address trees in streets.
At 6:09 pm. Friday, Salisbury Fire Department responded to West Bank and South Jackson streets where a tree had fallen into utility lines.
Martin said other areas hit hard Thursday included South Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Vance Street and Green Street behind the Hardees on East Innes Street.
But other sections of the city ó the Country Club area, for example ó seemed to escape the brunt of the storm. Cinquemani said the extensive landscaping being installed at the East Innes Street interchange of Interstate 85 also looked to have survived the wind and rain.
Besides clearing trees, Cinquemani said crews were picking up a lot of yard debris that residents had already cut and placed on the curb. The storm scattered those leaves and limbs everywhere, Cinquemani said.
Duke Power reported more than 45,000 customers in total were without power across the region with the majority occurring in the Greenville, S.C., area Thursday.
If your power is still out and you are a Duke customer, report the outage at 1-800-POWERON.
Drew Sechler contributed to this story.