Cold causes outages, yet few problems

Jan. 07, 2014 @ 09:48 PM

Despite frigid temperatures across Central Carolina, authorities are reporting few weather-related issues locally.

Lee County Emergency Services Director Shane Seagroves said sprinkler systems have malfunctioned because of the cold, but few incidents have been reported, and Sanford Police Maj. Jamie Thomas said there have been relatively few vehicle accidents.

“Knock on wood, it’s been pretty quiet,” he said.

During extreme weather, people should always increase their following distance behind another vehicle, not be in a hurry, drive at a safe speed and always use caution, Thomas said.

A hazardous weather outlook has been issued for Central North Carolina, with warmer weather expected throughout the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service.

“Frigid, sub-freezing temperatures will continue through Wednesday morning, but winds will remain light,” according to the alert.

The cold weather, high winds and heavy demand led to power outages across the state Tuesday. At the peak, major utilities in North Carolina reported more than 22,000 customers without electricity on the coldest morning of the year.

Duke Energy reported about 17,000 customers were without service in western North Carolina. The utility had about 5,500 customers without service in the area previously served by Progress Energy on Tuesday morning. But by the afternoon, fewer than 1,000 North Carolina customers remained without power. Utility officials asked customers to conserve as much power as possible during the cold snap to prevent more problems.

Highs across the state didn’t get above freezing Tuesday. Forecasters expect one more bitterly cold night, although Wednesday morning’s lows shouldn’t break records. There is warmer weather ahead, as temperatures are expected to return to normal or above normal by the weekend.

The Associated Press and Herald reporter Anna Johnson contributed to this report.