Hurricane Florence claimed one of Hillsborough’s oldest and largest trees, and with it electricity to the town.
Lineworkers from Duke Energy hope to have electricity restored to most of Hillsborough by 9 p.m., according to town officials. Workers will be limited if wind speeds top 30 mph. Crews will have to stop work for their own safety.
Early Friday morning, a tree thought to be about 200 years old toppled after being uprooted. A news release from the town said the red oak blocked Calvin Street and knocked out a power line when it fell. No injuries or other property damage were reported.
Orange Rural firefighters and Hillsborough police secured the area and directed traffic around the blocked street.
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Because of the power loss, police have erected temporary stop signs and are directing traffic at intersections where traffic lights are out.
Duke Energy line workers began working to restore power by 10 a.m., but it could take until late in the afternoon for power to be turned back on. Most town offices lost phone or internet access due to the outage.
The tree was one of the first to be recognized in the town’s Treasure Trees program.
The town will remove parts of the tree blocking the street, but it is too large to be removed by the town’s own equipment.
The town’s Public Works Department cleared another tree that had fallen and blocked Brownville Avenue Friday morning.
Residents are asked to be alert for fallen trees, dead trees and dead tree limbs if they must be outside or must travel during or after the storm. Motorists in high-profile vehicles should be especially cautious while driving.
To report downed trees blocking a roadway, call 911. Provide information about the size of the tree and whether the roadway is passable to help Public Works and Orange Rural Fire staff better respond to the hazard.