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Less than 3,000 still without power in NC

Posted February 27, 2015

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— Duke Energy said Friday evening that it has restored power to more than 400,000 North Carolina customers drying out and cleaning up from this week's winter storm that dropped several inches of snow that downed trees and power lines.

Less than 3,000 customers – mostly in the Triangle – remained in the dark Friday evening as crews continued working to turn on the electricity.

In Wake County – where damage was extensive, less than 1,000 of the county's 400,000 customers were still without electricity as of 6:30 p.m. In Nash County, 750 without power; and 500 were left in Durham County.

In these areas, the utility says, crews have been having to clear trees, replace poles and restring power lines, which have taken "a considerable amount of time."

Statewide, power outages peaked at 224,000, with Durham and Wake counties being the hardest hit, the company said.

Joseph Lovelace and his wife Naomi, who have lived in southeast Raleigh since 1973, were without power at their home on Tee Dee Drive for about 33 hours after losing it around 1 a.m. Thursday.

"We woke up to a cold house. Thursday night was pretty rough," Lovelace said. "We put on some long johns, and it was the first time in my life I ever slept with gloves on. The power came back on at 10 a.m. this morning, praise the lord."

Terry Stafford and his wife, in Durham, waited patiently for their power to be restored and stayed warm bundled up in front of a living room fire.

"It's cold, but it's OK. It's fine," Stafford said. "We don't have small kids in the house or anything like that, so it's really been alright. As soon as the sun comes up, it warms, and it's really not that bad."

But not everyone could wait out the power crews out from their homes.

Graham Nice also lost power Thursday morning.

"My son is a special needs (child), so he gets bothered by the noises and beeping, and my wife is disabled," Nice said. "So, we just said, 'Hey, let's go to a hotel."

The family only decided to come back at around noon Friday when they got a call from Duke Energy saying electricity had been restored.

Stafford's power was also restored around noon.

Getting the power back on can be challenging and hazardous for Duke Energy workers and customers.

"This is a dangerous. We're talking about 14,000 volts (of electricity)," said Vernel Bennett, a line technician for Duke Energy. "I'm not going to turn it on (in once place when) I got 5 miles of line – and at the end of that line, it's laying across somebody's fence. So, I've got to make sure that I walk and look at every piece of wire and make sure it's up in the air before I energize it."

The snow also sent tree limbs crashing onto homes, yards and streets across the region, including Kathryn Jones' garage and back fence.

"They looked like grenades hanging," the Elm City resident said of the snow. "They were just like heavy in the shape of a grenade."

Shelters were set up across the region by the American Red Cross, including one at Sanderson High School in Raleigh, where Barbara Latta and her husband spent Thursday night.

"We are staying here because we were just frozen,” she said. “We had been cold since 3 o’clock this morning – and no heat, and no hot water and no nothing. So we decided to find some alternative to staying cold all night."

Temperatures will reach the lower 40s on Friday and drop to the low 20s by Saturday morning. Weekend highs will be in the mid-30s and low 40s. Lows will stay in the 20s into Sunday.


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