Local News

Lights back on for most storm victims

Posted April 20, 2011 6:45 p.m. EDT
Updated April 20, 2011 7:20 p.m. EDT

— Four days after killer storms swept across 32 counties in central North Carolina, the power is back on for most of those affected, Progress Energy said late Wednesday afternoon. The utility expected to have the lights on for all customers by midnight.

In Wake County's Timberlake community, Jemma VanHouten, 91, was still waiting Wednesday afternoon. After four days without power, she had to throw out all the food from her refrigerator. She gave frozen foods to her granddaughter, but the rest will go to waste, she said.

She burned kerosene lamps and candles after dark for four evenings.

Son Leonard VanHouten came to keep her company. "Of course, we're on a well, so there's no water either," he said. 

On Wednesday afternoon, as the temperature climbed through the 80s, they sweated it out with a smile. "We're gradually, gradually getting through it," she said.

Saturday’s violent storms knocked out power to more than 340,000 Progress Energy customers. The storm damaged power poles, tore out lines and damaged transformers. Some of the workers sent to make repairs said the storms simply swept poles and wires away.

Customers can expect telephone, cable and Internet service to be restored in the next couple of days.