Gov. Pat McCrory is praising first responders for their swift response to powerful thunderstorms that swept across North Carolina, killing three people and leaving thousands without power.
“My condolences go out to the families and friends of the three people that lost their lives as a result of the storm,” he said Friday. “I also want to commend the first responders, law enforcement and emergency management for their swift response.”
Duke Energy has requested additional utility crews from the Midwest and South Carolina to help restore service to its 138,000 customers still without power Friday afternoon. They were among more than 243,000 customers of all utilities without power.
Thursday’s storm toppled trees and downed power lines.
A 20-year-old woman was killed when she was hit by a falling tree in downtown Chapel Hill. Xuezhou “Julia” Nan, 20, of Cary, was trying to get home at about 5:15 p.m. when a large oak tree fell across the front yard of the Chi Omega sorority house, in the 300 block of East Franklin Street, and landed on top of her on the sidewalk.
Emergency Medical Services Director Jim Groves says another person pulled the 20-year-old woman from beneath the tree but she was unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at UNC Hospitals.
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp identified the student as Xuezhou “Julia” Nan, a senior from Cary.
Two Wilkes County residents also died, including a volunteer firefighter who was electrocuted after responding to a small fire caused by a tree that fell onto power lines.
Wilkes County Fire Marshal Kevin Bounds says 36-year-old Tony Barker had joined the Mountain View Volunteer Fire Department last year. Fire Chief Bill Johnson said Barker had a wife and a 3-year-old son.
Authorities say 77-year-old Maurice Kilby of Wilkes County died when a large tree fell on him in his yard. Officials say Kilby’s wife found him and called for help, but he had died by the time rescuers arrived.
More than two dozen counties reported some type of damage during the storm.
Downed trees and power lines blocked roads. Once counties complete their damage appraisals, North Carolina Emergency Management officials can compile estimates to see which areas, if any, qualify for state financial assistance, McCrory said.
The American Red Cross opened shelters at Albemarle High School in Stanly County and at Page Road Elementary School in Montgomery County after emergency management officials in both counties said some families had been displaced by storm damage. In Raleigh, a Department of Motor Vehicle office was closed because of the power outage.