Snow, ice cripple Lee and surrounding counties

Feb. 13, 2014 @ 11:01 AM

Winter Storm Pax has wreaked havoc on Lee County and the surrounding area, leaving hazardous roads and hundreds of power outages in its wake.

Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter told The Herald Thursday morning that roads in Lee County “are in terrible shape.”

“People need to stay off the roads and stay home,” he said. “There are a few people out there driving around, but it’s not worth getting hurt or having your car torn up.” Carter said his officers are out on patrol, but the department wants to be able to concentrate its resources on emergencies – “not on people who go out sightseeing and get into an accident.” U. S. 1 and Horner Boulevard are still covered with snow and ice, Carter said, and “It’s just not a safe driving situation for anyone. It’s going to be bad for awhile.”

The latest power outage numbers from Central Electric are as follows: 282 in Chatham, 396 in Lee, 561 in Harnett and 237 in Moore.

"We're always very proactive; yesterday, we had crews on standby," said spokeman Heather Vaughan. Referring to the linemen working to resolve outages, she said, "These guys give their heart and soul, and they won't quit until everyone has their power back."

The most updated outage numbers for Duke Energy Progress are as follows: 600 in Moore, 300 in Chatham, 800 in Lee and under 1,400 in Harnett.

Company reps say approximately 3,400 field workers have boots on the ground, with additional crews expected today, to restore power throughout the company's coverage area.

As of Thursday morning, Lee County Emergency Services Director Shane Seagroves noted that his department was bracing for the final round of precipitation associated with this winter weather event.

"Lee County could receive from 1-3 inches of snow with the passing of this final precipitation," he wrote in a Facebook post. "They cannot rule out a chance of thunder snow associated with this passing precipitation with snowfall rates up two inches per 30 minutes. This should occur after lunch today and could last for several hours."

Seagroves also stated that "state and city crews are working hard to clear the streets however, the side streets and roads are still in bad shape. Please stay off the roadways if at all possible."