Thunderstorms: Storm-related deaths, downed trees and power lines leave thousands without power Tuesday; Durham was hardest hit

A large-scale cleanup effort is underway across the Triangle after strong thunderstorms tore through the area Tuesday afternoon, downing trees and power lines, and killing one person in Durham.

Tens of thousands of people remained without power, most of them in Durham Region.

Late Tuesday, Durham Public Schools announced that due to hazardous road conditions and widespread power outages, schools would be closed to students on Wednesday. Staff at DPS schools, specialized high schools and central services offices will work year-round on a two-hour delay.

Storm leaves 1 dead

Durham Police confirmed to ABC11 late Tuesday that the storm had taken a deadly turn. DPD said 78-year-old Donna Warshaw of Hillsboro was killed when a tree fell on her car.

It happened on Anderson Street at Moorhead Avenue and Cranford Road near the Duke University campus.

The tree also fell on power lines. Anderson Street and Moorhead Street are expected to remain closed for several more hours while crews work to clear the road, police said.


As of 11 p.m., nearly 70,000 people were without power in Durham County and several thousand more were without power in Wake and Orange counties. More than 116,000 people were cut off from electricity across the state.

Check out Duke Energy’s power outage map here.

Related | Here’s how to report and verify a power outage in your area

Duke Energy’s Jeff Brooks tells ABC11 crews are out and about working to restore power and clean power lines as quickly as possible.

The severe weather began starting around 3 p.m

Warnings were in effect in several counties as storms packed with heavy rain, damaging winds and large amounts of lightning passed through the region.

Traffic Alert: Downed trees and power lines

In the heart of Durham, storms moved quickly through busy streets toward Javier Timas’ home

“Within a few minutes, you hear a bad sound, something bad,” Temas said.

His family was OK, but he showed ABC11 where a tree tore off the roof of his home near Liberty and Guthrie streets.

“I’m worried about my family and that everyone is okay,” Temas said. “You see a few blocks away and it’s bad.”

A few blocks away, near Driver Street, electrical wires fell on the road while police closed off the area where the power lines were down.

Hyde Park Street was blocked off at Holloway Street by a huge tree that downed power lines on both sides of the road, hitting homes and sending debris flying everywhere.

Jamario Perry had trees and limbs blown down at his Argonne Hills home.

“The wind picked up and everything broke,” Perry said. “I just hope the trees don’t fall on my house and it holds up. It was pretty intense.”

Perry said it was scary but “you have to respect Mother Nature.”

In Durham, police reported several trees downing power lines and creating dangerous situations. Here is the list of closed streets:

  • Anderson Street and Cranford Road
  • West Markham Street and North Gregson Road
  • Norwood Street and Myers Street
  • Hope Valley Road and West Cornwallis Road
  • Wadi Al-Amal Road and University Road
  • North Driver Street and Liberty Street
  • 1100 block of North Miami Boulevard
  • Inn Roxborough/Chatto Rd.
  • 800 Block W Club Boulevard
  • Hillandale Road at Hillsboro Road
  • 400 block of Old Oxford Road
  • 500 block of Hardy Street
  • 100 block of Lamond Street

DPD said shortly after 8:30 p.m. that the following streets had reopened:

  • 2500 block of North Duke Street
  • 1900 block of Camden Street
  • Morehead Street and Shoppers Street
  • 3700 block of Wake Forest Highway
  • 1000 blocks of North Hyde Park
  • Shannon Road and University Road
  • West Main and Buchanan Blvd

The storms also downed trees and power lines in northern Wake County. The Northern Wake Fire Department said it responded to dozens of calls about wires, broken power poles and trees falling on homes.

One of many trees that fell during Tuesday’s storm. This was in the 15000 block of Creedmoor Road (Highway 50).

Courtesy of Northern Wake Fire Department.

No major injuries were reported but power is likely to be out for some time north of I-540 along Creedmoor Road, as well as east on Old Weaver Trail, and west on Old Weaver Trail, in the Dutchville section of Wake County.

In Hillsboro, a family was shocked after a large tree fell on their home more than 40 years ago, causing extensive damage.

These storms came after a very hot day. Many areas experienced what felt like temperatures of over 110 degrees.

(Tags for translation) Today’s weather

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