First the good news: Many WNC residents (including the animal shelter on Lees Creek Road) have had their power restored. But for others, especially those in rural areas, today marks the fourth day without electricity. Here are some reports and resources:
• “Progress Energy still reported that about 7,600 customers in Western North Carolina are without power,” says The North Carolina News Network. “The Raleigh-based utility reported about 67,000 outages at the peak of the storm over the weekend. Since the storm started on Friday the highest number of outages have been in Buncombe County.”
• Progress Energy Carolinas released a statement on Saturday saying that “crews are working around the clock to restore power,” and at 5 p.m. the day after the heaviest snow, reported the following outage numbers in WNC counties: 256 in Avery; 46,000 in Buncombe; 8,600 in Haywood; 65 in Henderson; 72 in Jackson; 563 in Madison; 805 in Mitchell; 210 in Yancey.
Though the storm has passed, as power is being retored (and, in future incidences: This is forecasted to be a snowy winter), Progress Energy posted the following safety tips:
• Stay away from downed power lines. Keep children and pets away as well. Always assume downed lines are energized.
• Do not stand under ice-laden limbs or power lines. Be on the lookout for falling ice.
• Never use a generator indoors. Always follow manufacturer instructions.
• Keep at least one battery-powered flashlight where it can be located easily in the dark. Listen for storm information on a battery-powered radio. Keep an extra supply of fresh batteries.
• Make sure you are adequately stocked with canned goods and bottled water.
• Make sure any indoor heaters, such as wood stoves or kerosene heaters, have adequate ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Likewise, make sure the flue of your fireplace is working properly. Never use outdoor grills in the house.
• Make sure you have adequate fuel on hand for supplementary heating sources, such as a fireplace, wood-burning stove or kerosene heater.
Click here for the full article.
• Additional resources for those still in need of help or for future reference include:
1) Progress Energy maintains a Storm Central Web page here.
2) The utility company also stays connected to its costumers and the community via Twitter, for those who are Twitter users. The company’s handle is @progressenergy; click here to follow.
3) Click here for an outage map.
• For some families, the weekend’s storm meant hardships, including one Weaverville family. “Karyn Hull says nine family members, including 5 children all under age 12 are sleeping in one room with a small kerosene heater. They are melting snow to have drinking water, and are living off ramen noodles and snacks,” reports WLOS News. Click here for that story and video coverage.
• Last night, “In Buncombe County, 9,775 customers were powerless as of 7:30 p.m.,” according to a Citizen-Times report.
• “On track to restore 85-90% of customers by 11pm 2nite. Harder-to-access areas will be restored 2morro & Wed.,” was Progress Energy’s hopeful Tweet from Monday night. Twitter user @mvwilliams tells us “With 700 crew folks on the ground, Progress Energy plans get 98% remaining powerless customers up-running today.” Good news!
• To put it all in perspective, Progress Energy offers a look at historic storms, from hurricanes to ice storms, and gives summaries of damages, power outages and how many days it took to restore power. Click here for that report.
— Alli Marshall, A&E reporter