Ice Storm Knocks Out Power Across North Carolina
Posted December 5, 2002 4:05 a.m. EST
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Areas west of Triangle have been hit hard by the winter storm. The storm shut down roads, knocked down trees and power lines, and left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity.
Duke Power officials said the storm the worst to ever hit the Carolinas and outages have surpassed the number caused by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
Duke Power officials said electricity will probably not be restored for several days.
They said it took the company 13 days to restore power after the worst previous ice storm in February 1996, when 660,000 customers were without power.
Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Catawba County issued emergency declarations Thursday afternoon. Officials said they hope it will increase their chances of receiving winter storm cleanup money from the state and federal government.
All schools in the Charlotte region were closed Thursday and Cabarrus County Schools already announced they will also be closed on Friday.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg School officials announced Thursday afternoon that more than half their schools were without power.
NorthEast Medical Center in Concord reportedly turned on its emergency generators because of fallen power lines. The hospital reportedly saw an increase of elderly patients with cold or respiratory problems and said they expect to see more.
Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory lost power three times on Thursday morning. One of the Medical Center's three emergency generators failed, so patients were forced to move to Catawba Valley Medical Center for a CAT scan.
In Catawba County, three shelters have been set up to help some of 30,000 people without power.
Trash pickup in Charlotte was also thrown off-schedule, but according to the city manager, crews will work Saturday to catch-up.
Air and Road Travel
Air traffic also slowed down at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, leaving about 3,000 travelers stranded on Wednesday night.
I-85 reopened was shut down Thursday morning due to low-hanging power lines, but reopened in the afternoon.
Southbound ramps on I-77 to eastbound I-485 were also closed late Wednesday afternoon, but reopened on early Thursday.
Major roadways from Charlotte into the southern regions were reportedly in good condition on Thursday, but roads remain snow-covered in cities to the north, such as Hickory, Statesville and Salisbury.
In Charlotte, fallen trees and power lines blocked secondary streets and some main roads.
North Carolina Counties
Outside of the Charlotte-area, power outages were reported in the Greenville-Spartanburg area in upstate South Carolina.
Power was down throughout most of Gaston County on Thursday morning. About 8,000 customers were without reportedly without power Thursday morning.
Power officials said most electricity should be restored in Gaston County within the next 24 hours.
Near Gastonia and Shelby, Duke Power said about 70,000 customers did not have electricity.
In Union County, almost half of the school systems are without power and were closed on Thursday.
The city of Monroe has not reported any power outages; 20 customers were without power on Thursday morning, but all have been restored.
Union Power Cooperative reported 25,000 power outages on Thursday morning, which includes Stanly, Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Rowan counties.
In York County, the entire city of York, about 8,000 people, were without power on Thursday morning. 8:30 a.m. About 8,000 residents in rock Hill were also without power.
About 21,000 Duke Power customers in Lancaster County were without power on Thursday and all area schools were closed.
Iredell County, including all of Statesville, was also without power on Thursday.