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N.C. Guard Sends Generators To Columbus County, Continues I-95 Patrols

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RALEIGH, N.C. — In response to this week's winter storm, the North Carolina National Guard has sent two teams with two 60-kilowatt portable generators to Columbus County to power the well systems for that county as well as the Town of Bolton.

The teams, comprised of two soldiers each, departed Kinston earlier Tuesday and were expected to have the generators on-site and running by midnight.

The request to send the generators came through the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management.

Additionally, Guard soldiers will continue through Wednesday their mission of assisting the North Carolina State Highway Patrol as troopers help motorists stranded on Interstate 95 in Wilson and Nash Counties.

Some 400 soldiers and airmen remained on alert for possible state active duty in the event they were needed. That number was down from the 1,000 originally alerted; conditions have not necessitated the use of that many troops.

Guardsmen patrolled an interstate Tuesday in humvees, pulling stranded motorists from icy banks after freezing drizzle glazed leftover snow and slicked the state's roads.

The Guard worked mainly along a 35-mile section of Interstate 95 that stretched from Wilson to northern Nash County. The area was among those hit hardest by a series of storms that have coated much of the state in ice since Sunday.

Eight people, including a 9-year-old boy, have died in weather-related traffic accidents since the winter weather first hit Sunday, authorities said, adding that motorists were not heeding warnings to stay off the roads.

"The storm at this point is only as challenging as our citizens are making it by getting out on the roads," Gov. Mike Easley said. "There is a ripple effect of danger when you don't pay attention to what law enforcement is telling you."

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