Cary woman dies in Thursday storm

cowens@newsobserver.comJune 14, 2013 

A 20-year-old UNC-Chapel Hill student from Cary died from injuries received when she was pinned under a large tree in Chapel Hill during Thursday afternoon’s severe storms.

Orange County Emergency Services said the tree was toppled by storm winds on the 300 block of East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill after 5 p.m. Thursday.

The student was Xuezhou Nan, known as “Julia.” She was transported to the UNC Hospital emergency room.

“It is so hard to lose one so young, especially in such a terrible, random and tragic event,” said UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp in a statement.

Nan, a senior, was majoring in biology and psychology and minoring in chemistry. She attended Panther Creek High School.

Across the Triangle Friday, residents were still dealing with power outages and downed trees from the line of thunderstorms and heavy winds.

Duke Energy reported 243,000 customers across North and South Carolina still without power as of 8 a.m. Friday morning. Outages peaked at 356,916.

According to maps on Duke Energy’s website, 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 decreased throughout the day. Maps can be found at www.duke-energy.com/news/outage-information.asp.

“Some of these folks may need to prepare for multi-day damage,” said spokeswoman Erin Culbert. Power is estimated to be restored by Sunday night. Culbert said the damage is comparable to that caused by a tropical storm or hurricane.

People can call the power company for local-level damage estimates. Wake County residents should call Legacy Progress at 1-800-419-6356. Durham County and Orange County residents should call Legacy Duke at 1-800-POWERON.

Several Wake County schools experienced outages, although all but two regained power by Friday around 9 a.m. Adams Elementary and Banks Road Elementary closed for the day as they were not expected to regain power until around noon.

Principals were aware of the situation and had safety measures in place to deal with the outages before the power went back on.

“Safety is paramount,” said Estella Shelton, chief communications officer of the Wake County school system. She said to her knowledge, all schools had regained power by early afternoon.

Damage reports from around the Triangle included:

• A tree that fell on a house near Cary’s Tryon Road.

• A tree snapped in two by high winds downed a power line and traffic signals at the intersection of Glen Eden and Blue Ridge roads in Raleigh.

• Multiple trees downed in Chapel Hill, affecting Franklin Street, Rosemary Street and other major roads, according to a town spokesman.

The City of Raleigh Solid Waste Services Department will expand its normal yard waste collection services for the week of June 17 due to the large amount of storm debris. Waste will be collected free of charge, but must still meet the city’s curbside collection guidelines. Guidelines can be reviewed at http://www.raleighnc.gov/services/content/SolidWaste/Articles/GarbagePreparation.html.

The special collection must be scheduled by calling the Solid Waste Services Department at 919-996-6890.

The cool front will bring lower weekend temperatures with highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s, although humidity will gradually increase over the weekend.

On a good note, 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.

Owens: 919-829-4567

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