Thousands without power in WNC after wind takes out trees

It was a cold, dark first night of winter for many in our region as high winds took out power all over Western North Carolina. (file photo: a Progress Energy lineman working to restore power in 2010; photo by Bill Rhodes)

“When you only have electricity for heat, well, it gets cold fast,” says Fred Frady of West Asheville. “On a night like this, my house would be warm, tonight I might have to go sleep somewhere else.”

Power outages all over Asheville and Buncombe County kept people in similar situations last night and into this morning. At 8:30 a.m., Progress Energy reported 3,918 customers without electricity in Buncombe County, 1,274 in Mitchell, 216 in Henderson and 17 in Haywood. Duke Energy said there were 1,310 with no power in McDowell, 338 in Henderson, 295 in Polk and 267 in Rutherford.

“Gonna make it tough to figure out the holiday thing,” said Frady. “I hope they get it back by Monday.”

Trees were reported down on power lines last night on Tunnel Road, on Caledona Road, and on Hubbard Street. Trees hit houses in Swannona and on Azalea Road in east Asheville. One landed on a car off Tunnel Road. As of yet, there are no serious injuries reported from the storm.

The National Weather Service reported a peak gust of 47 mph at the Asheville Regional Airport yesterday; so far today the highest recorded gust there has been 36 mph. Today is forecast to be much warmer than yesterday, with winds subsiding.

Power crews are working to restore power, and of course, get back home to their families for the holiday.


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