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Tree lands on Richmond woman’s bed during Hurricane Matthew

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Jean Everette said she's lucky to be alive after a tree came straight through her bedroom Saturday night.

The tree landed right where she and her husband sleep -- usually.

"When I came [home], I was in shock," Everette said.

Thankfully, no one was home because Everette was at the hospital visiting her husband, who recently had a heart transplant.

"If I would have been here I don't think I would have made it through," she said.

Richmond tree

Jean's home on Dorset Rd. in Richmond was but some of the damage from the weekend weather.

In Powhatan, the high winds Sunday evening caused a roof to collapse, crashing in the parking lot and even smashing a car. All of the stores in the shopping center were closed Sunday except for an antique shop.

Derwood Stroud, who owns the shopping center, said he got a call from an employee right after it happened.

"He said it sounded like a train and all of a sudden debris just started flying off the building," said Stroud.

No one was injured, but Stroud said all stores but the barber shop will most likely be closed until Wednesday.

Richmond tree

Most of Central Virginia was left untarnished as the storm stayed far enough out to not cause too much damage.

The hurricane left swaths of damage and millions of power outages along parts of the US Southeast from Florida to the Carolinas after a destructive trip through the Caribbean that took the lives of hundreds of people.

The flooding in North Carolina reached historic levels.

Post-hurricane dangers: What to know before returning home

As thousands of Hurricane Matthew victims return to their homes, they're also coming back to a host of potential dangers.

Here's what you need to know to avoid everything from electrocution to carbon monoxide poisoning:

Driving home

In addition to avoiding flooded roads, watch out for downed power lines. Keep an eye out for weakened bridges and roads that look like they might collapse.

Inspecting for the first time

Walk carefully around the outside of your house and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage. Stay out of any structure if you smell gas. Avoid areas near your home with standing or moving water. Standing water often hides toxins or chemicals, and just 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.

Dealing with no electricity

Never use a portable generator inside a house or garage, even if the windows and doors are open. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a leading cause of death after storms with power outages. Don't use candles. Use battery-powered flashlights, but make sure to turn them on before entering an empty building. The flashlights' batteries can cause a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if there is any.

Clearing downed trees and heavy limbs

Before starting the saw, make sure the lubrication reservoir is full. Start the chain saw on the ground, not by "drop-starting" it. Watch for branches under tension, since they could spring out when cut.

Staying healthy

Remove flood-damaged belongings to lower the risk of mold. Wear insect repellent, since mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water. If sleeping without air conditioning or outdoors, sleep under a mosquito bed net.

Sources: Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Weather Service, North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Centers for Disease Control and Preventio

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