Forecaster: Sanford in for 'difficult, ugly' conditions

Snow snarls commutes in advance of expected ice
Feb. 12, 2014 @ 02:49 PM

As Lee County was plummeted into snow and ice Wednesday, authorities urged residents to stay off the roads and prepare for power outages.

Snow arrived in Sanford shortly before noon Wednesday and was expected to continue throughout the evening before turning into sleet and freezing rain, according to Raleigh-based National Weather Service Meteorologist Jonathan Blaes.

“It’s going to be a difficult, ugly night in Sanford,” he said Wednesday afternoon.

Lee County can expect anywhere from a quarter-inch to a half-inch of ice on top of the three to four inches of snow Wednesday night into today, Blaes said. Power outages are anticipated, and roads will be difficult to travel, he said.  

Another two or three inches of snow is expected this afternoon, and temperatures will be in the low 30s tonight, he said. Temperatures should reach the mid-40s with a little bit of sunshine on Friday, Blaes added.

Duke Energy Progress Spokesperson Mary Katherine Green said the electric company has 3,400 boots on the ground and 500 trucks and workers relocated from Florida and their Midwest operations.

“We have got a plan, and we will keep monitoring the weather response in the area,” she said. There were more than 38,000 power outages in North Carolina as of noon Wednesday.

Central Electric Membership Corporation Communications Specialist Heather Vaughan said they had no power outages as of noon Wednesday but urged people to be proactive.

Customers of Duke Energy Progress can call 1-800-419-6356 to report an outage. Central Electric Membership Corporation customers can call 1-877-766-6769. Both companies also have maps online showing which areas have power outages.

Power outage safety tips, via nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, include:

* If you lose power, close doors and seal them with towels to keep the warm air in.

* Put on layers of warm clothing. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors.

* If you use a gas heater or fireplace to stay warm, be sure the area is properly ventilated.

* Avoid opening the fridge or freezer. Food should be safe as long as the outage lasts no more than four hours.

* Turn off all lights but one, to alert you when power resumes.

* Be sure to use flashlights and not candles.

* If you have a generator, do not run a generator inside a home or garage. Use gas-powered generators only in well-ventilated areas.

* Connect only individual appliances to portable generators.

* Don’t plug generators into electric outlets or hook them directly to your home’s electrical system – as they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.

* Check on elderly neighbors, friends or relatives who may need assistance if weather is severe during the outage.

* When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can damage equipment such as computers and motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace.