Number of power outages across North Carolina going down as temperatures continue to drop

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Saturday, December 24, 2022
Less than 100,000 without power in NC as cold moves in
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The cold front pushing across North Carolina has already knocked out power to more than 85,000 utility customers.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The cold front pushing across North Carolina has already knocked out power to more than 200,000 utility customers.

Rain over the past 24-hours combined with strong wind settling into the region is creating a recipe for power outages.

As of Friday evening, the outages included more than 85,000 customers all across the state. Duke Energy, which supplies most of the power in North Carolina, has 77,000 customers without power.

In Wake County, nearly 23,000 customers are without power and nearly 2,500 in Durham County.

White flag shelters, which are heated indoor areas accepting anyone during severe weather--such as these extremely cold temperatures, are open from 5 p.m. - 8 a.m. in various locations throughout Raleigh.

"We also know there are more people who are unsheltered this year. Right now at any given point in Wake County, there's 400 people on a waiting list waiting to get into shelters. So we know we have more people who are unsheltered, more folks who are waiting on sheltered beds to open up, and we've already seen that indicated in the numbers on the nights that we've opened," Rev. Vance Haywood said.

As for the weather going forward, the rain is over but the wind and extremely cold temperatures are set to stick around through the weekend.

Volunteers needed to keep shelters open, extend hours during brutal cold spell in Wake County

Duke Energy expects an increase in energy usage as people try to stay warm this weekend. The company suggested anyone able should try and refrain from turning up their thermostat.

Shortly after 5:00 p.m. Friday, Duke Energy reported outages in the Carolinas dipped under 100,000, down more than 50% from its peak earlier in the day.

"Crews are out working in force, especially now that the winds are starting to die down a little bit. We've had some challenging conditions with winds that are in excess of 30 MPH, and that's when we can't put our buckets into the air. So that's a real challenge for restoring power, and one of the reasons it's been a little slower today," said Duke Energy spokesperson Jeff Brooks.

Line workers are also hoping to take advantage of the sunlight for as long as possible.

"You're working with high-voltage equipment, complicated equipment, it's really hard to do in the dark, so you've got to do that very carefully and very safely. Obviously, we're going to keep working into the evening, we've got a lot of work ahead of us, and I think it's realistic to assume that some of these restorations are going to take beyond today," Brooks added.

Woodcroft Shopping Center in Durham was without power for hours, forcing some businesses to close or alter operations as they waited to see if electricity would return.

"Our register's out, so we're only taking cash. But people have been generous enough to say, 'keep the change.' So, it's been a day," said Kenya Ashby, a Supervisor at Smallcakes.

While customers continued to stream in, they did have to adjust their staffing.

"It got cold immediately. So, it stops us from continuing production with baking throughout the day. Washing dishes with hot water. Using the microwave. Decorating cakes," Ashby explained. So, our cake decorator actually had to go to our other location in Cary to keep decorating cakes."

A couple stores down, Dorothy Glosso continued working at Durham Cleaners.

"Just stay bundled up. Walk around every few minutes, keep the blood flowing," Glosso said.

She lost power at her home earlier in the day, but it has since been restored. Glosso's hosting family this holiday weekend, and said they're prepared in the event they lose electricity again.

"We've got blankets. We've got body heat. It's nothing new to us. We've got generators, wood stoves, stuff like that," Glosso explained.

Gerri-Lee Lipscomb lives near Southpoint Mall and was without power at her home for hours.

"We will probably go out and try to find batteries and things like that if it's not on in a couple hours," said Lipscomb.

She explained they've already arranged back-up plans for a place to stay overnight if power isn't restored. Friday afternoon she stopped by Perfect Eyebrows, which remained open despite losing power.

"It's really hard. It's cold. There's no power. Still, we can't do some services like waxing because of the no power," said owner Laxmi Bhanderi.

Bhanderi said they have been able to accept credit cards due to an alternate energy source, but once that battery died, it would have to switch to cash only.

"Cash is always hard because the nearby bank is out of power too," said Bhanderi.

Power was restored to the shopping center mid-afternoon which allowed restaurants to re-open for the dinner rush as they kicked off the holiday weekend.

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