With her big date looming on Oct. 15, Sharifa Mattis wanted a break from thinking about her wedding plans.
So she joined her fiancé, Tyler Ahrendsen, on the front porch of their new house on Rose Lane in east Raleigh. It was about 3 p.m. Saturday. Hurricane Matthew hovered overhead and they wanted to see how it was affecting their neighborhood.
“As soon as we step outside, there was this huge flash of light,” Mattis said.
They looked around the corner of their house to see a huge tree lying across their back yard, back fence and power lines. The flash came from a transformer, also broken by the tree.
“We had planned to cut (the tree) down next year because we thought it was sketch,” Mattis said of the fallen tree, which she suspected to be dead. “Now we know it was.”
Trees toppled over dozens of roads and fences in Wake County on Saturday, leaving more than 100,000 residents without power on Sunday and creating new traffic patterns across the city.
The city also experienced pockets of flooding around Crabtree Creek and Walnut Creek.
Raleigh opened the Chavis Community Center as a refuge for those without power and encouraged residents to dispose of tree debris at its Yard Waste Center at 900 N. New Hope Road, which is normally closed on Sundays.
Ahrendsen and Mattis packed up their belongings and moved to her mom’s house in North Raleigh. It will replace their new home as the wedding headquarters, which Mattis said may make it easier for her to forget about the tree.
“Who cuts this? I don’t even know,” Mattis said.
Their wedding at Fletcher Park will still go on as planned, as will the honeymoon in the Dominican Republic.
“I just gotta get to Saturday,” she said.