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Snowstorm Knocks Out Power For Thousands - Black Ice Threat Through Friday Morning

A picture of an EDS truck by the WUNC sign.
Rebecca Martinez

Updated at 7:45 a.m., Friday, February 27

Duke Energy has set up a day camp of sorts outside the WUNC studios in Chapel Hill. The temporary mess hall has been set up to feed utilities workers brought in to restore power to the Triangle, where tens of thousands are still in the dark, so to speak.

Duke Energy has doubled the amount of workers trying to restore power to the Triangle after this week's winter storm.

To combat more than 240,000 outages, the utility brought in a thousand workers from coastal areas and South Carolina yesterday afternoon.

Duke spokesman Jeff Brooks says they've made substantial progress already.

“Right now we're looking at about 35-36,000 customers still out. Most of those are in the Triangle. And we're gonna be looking to restore all of those by the end of the day today, if not sooner.”

Brooks says Duke will notify customers if it will take longer to restore their power.

A picture of utility workers outside the temporary cafeteria.
Credit Rebecca Martinez / WUNC
Duke Energy has set up a temporary cafeteria outside the Friday Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. It's meant to feed utility workers brought in to combat widespread power outages in the Triangle.



Heavy snow on power lines in Durham
Credit Brent Wolfe
Snow is weighing down tree branches and power lines, leading to outages across the Triangle.

Updated at 2:45 p.m., Thursday, February 26  

The National Weather Service in Raleigh has issued a Winter Weather Advisory saying that black ice could pose a widespread hazard across North Carolina tonight. The advisory is in effect from 9 p.m. Thursday evening through 10 a.m. Friday. 

Locations where black ice can be a problem include all of the central and northern Piedmont and the central and northern coastal plain of North Carolina. This includes the Triangle, the Triad region, Albemarle, Roxboro, and Rocky Mount and surrounding areas.

Updated at 10 a.m.

More than 200,000 Duke Energy customers have lost power since the snowstorm overnight.

Spokesman Jeff Brooks says the majority of them are in Wake and Durham Counties.

“We've actually seen outages continue to climb, even after the precipitation has stopped. We're hoping that the rate of restoration is going to start outpacing the outages very soon, and then we're gonna start seeing those numbers come back down.”

Brooks says crews are coming to the Triangle from the coast and from South Carolina to restore power. But, he says, outages could continue throughout the day.

“Certainly we're going to continue to see some new outages because of the weight of snow and ice on tree limbs. It's hard to predict when those limbs break and where they'll break.”

Brooks says people without power should open their refrigerators as little as possible, and avoid any downed power lines.

He recommends that people with power keep their phones charged in case they need to report an outage or call for help.

Updated at 9:45 a.m.

Six inches of snow have fallen on parts of Durham and Orange Counties. Person County has seen up to 9 inches.

Mike Charbonneau of the state Department of Transportation says crews were out salting roads throughout much of yesterday and have been plowing through the night.

“Really, this is going to be a daylong operation and into tomorrow too. In North Carolina, throughout the state, we have 80,000 miles of roadway to maintain. More than 4,000 lane miles of Wake County alone, so that takes some time.”

Charbonneau urges motorists to stay off the roads as long as possible.

Updated at 7:00 a.m.
Tens of thousands are without power across North Carolina, as heavy snow weighs down trees and packs down on roadways.

The National Weather Service says the Triangle has seen accumulations ranging from 2 to 9 inches. Snowfall is expected to give way to freezing drizzle throughout the morning.

Temperatures will climb above freezing briefly this afternoon before dropping to the 20s overnight. The state Transportation Department asks everyone to stay off the roads.

Wind advisories are posted for coastal Carolina.

Snow at the State Capitol building
Credit Dave DeWitt
Snow at the State Capitol building

Power Outage Map From Duke Energy

Current weather conditions across North Carolina & the WUNC listening area




  More WUNC weather information

Stories, features and more by WUNC News Staff. Also, features and commentary not by any one reporter.
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