Governor Issues Transportation Waivers to Help Restore Power Strong winds cause power outages as North Carolina recovers from yesterday’s storms

Raleigh

As the state begins to clean up from yesterday’s strong storms, heavy winds today are toppling trees and caused power outage numbers to climb quickly across the state this morning.

Governor Roy Cooper authorized transportation waivers to allow utility companies to bring repair crews from out state and get faster access to communities without power.

“Though the worst of the rain is over, flooded roads and downed trees remain hazards,” Gov. Cooper said. “All of us need to help local emergency responders by avoiding flooded roads and downed power lines.”

At 1:00 p.m., more than 114,000 homes and businesses across the state were without power, but numbers are changing rapidly. Current power outage totals aggregated from all North Carolina power providers are available on a power outage map at ReadyNC.org.

A statewide wind advisory is in effect throughout the afternoon. Frequent gusts of 35-50 m.p.h. are expected with occasional gusts in excess of 50 m.p.h. possible. Winds will gradually lessen through the afternoon and become mostly calm overnight.  

People should be careful not to touch or drive across any downed power lines and should report power outages to their utility company. If your power is out, use flashlights or battery operated lights instead of candles to avoid fires and only use generators and grills outdoors, not in homes or garages to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Several possible tornado touchdowns were reported in the state yesterday, and National Weather Service meteorologists will be visiting those sites to determine if damages were due to tornadoes.

One weather related traffic death was reported yesterday. According to the State Highway Patrol, a man died when his pickup truck hydroplaned and ran off NC-150 in Gaston County, landing upside down in a creek.

The NC Department of Transportation reports more than 300 roads are either impassible or closed this morning. Portions of US-74 in Cherokee County, US-70 in Madison County, US-19 in Swain County, and US-25 in Henderson County are closed due to flooding and landslides. Additionally, multiple secondary roads throughout the state have been closed due to flooding or downed power lines. DOT crews in impacted counties are assessing roadways to clear away fallen trees and debris, and checking for damage to determine which roads can open and what repairs are needed for those that need to remain closed.

Eight people were rescued from a flooding home this morning in Rowan County and other water rescues occurred yesterday in Rutherford and Union counties.

The state’s network of river and stream gauges indicated three locations at major flood stage this morning: the Dan River at Pine Hall in Stokes County, the Haw River near Bynum in Chatham County and the South Fork of the Catawba River at Lowell in Gaston County, though few structures were likely to be affected at these locations.

Information on actual and predicted flooding is available online from the Flood Inundation Mapping and Alert Network website at fiman.nc.gov. The site can also alert you when flooding is expected to occur in your area.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Ashe, Avery, Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, Swain, Haywood, Graham and Watauga counties until 6 p.m. this evening for locations above 3,500 feet. Scattered snow showers have developed across the mountains where light accumulations (1-3”, 4” along the highest ridgetops) are possible at high elevations. Wet roads could freeze and become slippery throughout the day.  

The ReadyNC.org website provides information on personal and family emergency preparedness as well as real time information on power outagesevacuation orders and shelters that are open.

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