On the day after a line of severe storms roared through the Triangle, UNC-Chapel Hill mourned the death of a 20-year-old student, and thousands remained without power.
Xuezhou “Julia” Nan of Cary died from injuries received when she was pinned under a large tree in the 300 block of Chapel Hill’s East Franklin Street after 5 p.m. Thursday, Orange County Emergency Services said.
“It is so hard to lose one so young, especially in such a terrible, random and tragic event,” UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp said in a statement.
Nan, a senior, was majoring in biology and psychology and minoring in chemistry. She was a graduate of Panther Creek High School.
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Downed trees and power lines continued to plague Triangle residents Friday. According to Duke Energy, Wake County still had about 24,000 outages as of late Friday afternoon. Orange County had about 1,200, and Durham County about 1,300. The number of outages had decreased throughout the day.
“Some of these folks may need to prepare for multiday damage,” Duke Energy spokeswoman Erin Culbert said, adding that the damage is comparable to that caused by a tropical storm or hurricane.
Wake County residents still experiencing power problems are asked to call Legacy Progress at 800-419-6356. Durham and Orange residents should call Legacy Duke at 800-769-3766.
Several Wake County year-round schools had outages, although all had electricity restored and were able to operate except for Adams Elementary in Cary and Banks Road Elementary near Fuquay-Varina. Both schools ended up closing for the day.
Principals were aware of the situation and had safety measures in place to deal with the outages before the power came back on.
“Safety is paramount,” said Stella Shelton, chief communications officer of the Wake school system.
Other damage reports included a tree falling on a house near Cary’s Tryon Road, downed traffic signals at Glen Eden and Blue Ridge roads in Raleigh, and fallen trees on Rosemary Street and other major roads in Chapel Hill.
Raleigh’s Solid Waste Services Department said it will expand its normal yard waste collection services next week because of the large amount of storm debris. Waste will be collected free but must meet the city’s curbside collection guidelines. Special collection must be scheduled by calling the department at 919-996-6890.
Two other deaths were reported in Western North Carolina. A volunteer firefighter in Wilkes County was electrocuted after responding to a small fire caused by a tree that fell onto power lines. Wilkes County Fire Marshal Kevin Bounds said Tony Barker, 36, had joined the Mountain View Volunteer Fire Department last year.
Also in Wilkes, authorities say Maurice Kilby, 77, died when a large tree fell on him in his yard.
Statewide, more than two dozen counties reported storm damage.
The cool front behind the storm system brought lower weekend temperatures to the Triangle, although humidity will gradually increase over the weekend.
Also, thanks to the rain, North Carolina is drought-free for the first time in three years, according to the N.C. Drought Management Advisory Council.
The last time the U.S. Drought Monitor showed neither drought nor abnormally dry conditions in North Carolina was the week of April 20, 2010.
Staff writer Daniel Blustein and the Associated Press contributed to this report.