Local News

Triangle Braces for More Winter Weather

Posted January 1, 1999

— When the deep freeze hit North Carolina last week, thousands of people lost power. Meteorologists do not expect the same kind of storm to hit today, but crews fromCarolina Power and Lightare ready just in case.

The utility trucks are lined up at CP&L's State Fairgrounds command post, and they're ready to hit the road.

There are about 100 trucks and 258 workers from several southeastern states who are here to help out the regular crews.

Like tanks rolling in for battle, utility crews from as far away as Georgia and South Carolina gathered strength for the fight that lies ahead.

Many of them drove eight, ten, even 12 hours to get here, and not for the first time.

Many of these workers were among those called on to restore power during the Christmas ice storm. Up to a half-inch of ice left some 83,000 CP&L customers without electricity. The original predictions were for a similar storm over a much larger area and CP&L wasn't taking any chances.

"We're just fortunate that this ice storm doesn't appear to be as bad as originally thought," CP&L Spokesperson Sally Ramey says.

Dean Dorsey, a South Carolina utility worker, was here last week. "They called us out last week on Christmas, so we missed Christmas and now we're missing New Year's," Dorsey says. He's ready for the bad weather to come, and go.

Inside the Kerr Scott building, workers got their marching orders and had dinner before heading off to area hotels for the night.

Most were in pretty good spirits considering it's the second holiday weekend they'll be spending out in the elements, instead of at home.

"It's sort of bad, during the holidays, and being without lights," utility worker James Talton says. "I don't mind getting out there to help whoever I can."

If the ice does not materialize and there's not a lot of damage here, that does not mean these workers will be able to go home.

After all the power is restored here, they will be sent to Virginia, where the storm predictions are much worse.

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