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Cooper declares state of emergency for NC in wake of storm, nearly 100,000 out of power Sunday

Umbrellas bobbed along the Bryan Center plaza.
Umbrellas bobbed along the Bryan Center plaza.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency Sunday in light of the weekend’s winter storm that caused thousands across North Carolina to lose power.

By Sunday morning at 9 a.m., more than 135,000 customers of Duke Energy reported power outages due to a storm that extended from Saturday night. By 3 p.m., power had only been restored to 37,000 people, according to a tweet by Meredith Archie, a senior communications consultant at Duke Energy.

Cooper announced the emergency to assist utility workers in promptly bringing power back to parts of western and central North Carolina, according to a news release.

“A wintry mix of precipitation ranging from a few inches of snow or rain to .25 [inches] of freezing rain has fallen across western and central portions of North Carolina this weekend,” the release reads. “At 4:00 p.m. Sunday approximately 98,000 customers were without power; the majority of those were in Forsyth, Henderson, Rockingham, Stokes, Guilford, Caswell, Yadkin, Wilkes, Transylvania, Buncombe and Surry counties.”

On Jan. 12, Duke officials started “closely monitoring” the storm that was predicted to possibly “bring freezing rain over portions of the northern Piedmont,” according to a press release. However, the University did not cancel classes.

“A winter weather [advisory] has been issued by the National Weather Service from 6 p.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday for Durham, Research Triangle, Chatham, and other portions of Central North Carolina,” the release reads. “According to the [forecast], ice accumulations of a tenth of an inch or less is expected with little to no snow accumulation.”

The release also noted that the forecast called for only “ice accumulations of a tenth of an inch or less.”

At around the same time last year, Duke canceled classes from Jan. 17 to Jan. 19 at 10 a.m. in response to another snow storm.

On Jan. 16, 2018, Duke’s severe weather and emergency conditions policy was enacted to a forecast of four inches of snow. The next day, the policy was extended until Jan. 18 at 7 p.m..

Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, notified students in an email on Jan. 17, 2018 that the updated weather forecast predicted even more snow than before.

"Clearly the forecasters missed the mark by just a, by 8 or more inches of snow! I haven’t shoveled this much in 20 years...and I was much younger," Moneta wrote. "But, kudos to the many people who have toiled all day trying to keep up with road and walk conditions, provide nourishment and ensure warmth and light."


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