Utility crews continued to work Saturday across Charlotte and other parts of the state after powerful thunderstorms barreled through the region Friday night, causing about 200,000 outages among Duke Energy customers in the Carolinas.
Charlotte was among the hardest-hit areas from the storms that thundered into Mecklenburg County about 8:30 p.m. Friday.
At one point Friday, about 50,000 customers in Mecklenburg County lost power. As of 5 p.m. Saturday, that number had dropped nearly in half, with about 27,000 customers still without power.
In Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood neighborhood, residents said a Duke Energy worker told them not to expect power until 8 a.m. Tuesday. As of Saturday afternoon, a crew had yet to be assigned to remove a fallen tree that knocked down power lines off Kensington Avenue, residents said the worker told them.
Residents on Kenilworth Avenue in Dilworth were told power wouldn’t be restored until 11:45 p.m. Sunday. A Sherwood Forest resident near Cotswold Mall was told power would be back by noon Monday.
At the Charlotte Housing Authority’s 12-story, 173-unit Strawn Tower apartment building on South Boulevard, residents were provided breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday. Residents normally cook for themselves, a Housing Authority official said.
The various cleanup work is taking place amid heat and high humidity.
The National Weather Service says there is little chance of thunderstorms Sunday and is forecasting highs in the mid 90s and a heat index – the combined measurement of heat and humidity – at 100 degrees or slightly higher.
The storms, accompanied by wind gusts of 50 mph or stronger, left some people wielding chain saws in Charlotte and elsewhere to deal with the multitude of downed trees and large limbs.
In Charlotte, many homes and businesses remained without power Saturday along Margaret Wallace Road on the east side of the city; off Rozzelles Ferry Road in west Charlotte; and on Statesville Road in north Charlotte.
A downed tree closed the ramp from Interstate 277 to Interstate 77 southbound in Charlotte Saturday morning until the tree was removed over an hour later.
While Mecklenburg County was the hardest-hit area, a significant number of outages also were reported Friday night in Gaston County – 6,400 – and to the northwest in Wilkes County – 16,300.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police urged people not to call 911 to report an outage. Only call 911 to report downed lines or a safety hazard that needs immediate response, Capt. Chris Dozier of CMPD’s Steele Creek Division said.
To report power outages, call Duke Energy at 1-800-POWER-ON (769-3766) or report the outage at www.duke-energy.com.
In most cases, Duke Energy is reporting that it cannot estimate the time of repair, since crews are still reviewing the damage.
“Crews are working to restore power where possible and assessing damage in some of the hardest-hit areas,” Duke Energy said in a statement to customers.
The utility had crews working continuously to deal with the aftermath of the storm.
Authorities reported trees or large limbs fell on houses in Charlotte, Concord and northern Iredell County. No injuries were reported there.
Emergency management officials also said a tree fell on a house on Lakeside Loop in Alexander County, with a possible entrapment of a resident.
Also hard-hit was Watauga County in the northwest mountains. More than 6,000 power outages were reported, and Watauga County Communications tweeted late Friday that “probably thousands of trees are down.”
The storm knocked out power at the American Legion baseball field in Belmont, interrupting a tournament game there. And PRN, the Concord-based auto racing radio network, reported the storms disrupted their broadcast of a NASCAR race being run in Kentucky.
The Weather Service said a wind gust of 87 mph was measured in a storm near Grandfather Mountain. A weather spotter in Alexander County reported wind gusts of near 50 mph in another storm.
Here are some of the damage reports, by county:
▪ Alexander: Sulphur Springs Road in western Alexander County closed by downed trees.
▪ Cabarrus: Police in Concord reported 15 trees down in the city, including one on a house. Lower Rocky River Road in Huntersville also was blocked by downed trees.
▪ Caldwell: Trees blocked all lanes of U.S. 321 near Patterson; trees blocking N.C. 18 near Gamewell.
▪ Cleveland: One-inch hail in Lawndale.
▪ Gaston: 11,800 power outages; trees down in Cherryville and Stanley.
▪ Iredell: 7,800 power outages; trees down in Mooresville; about 20 trees down and an entrapment reported east of Union Grove.
▪ Mecklenburg: Two trees down on a house in Plaza-Midwood and another in northeast Charlotte; numerous trees down in Paw Creek area.
▪ Rowan: Numerous trees down across the southern part of the county.
▪ Union: Some scattered reports of downed trees south of Monroe.
▪ Watauga: Wind gusts of more than 80 mph cause structural damage. Thousands without power, and numerous roads blocked by downed trees.
▪ York, S.C.: Some downed trees and power lines, especially between Rock Hill and Fort Mill, S.C.
Staff Writers Ely Portillo and Lawrence Toppman contributed.