CHARLOTTE — Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency for North Carolina today, hours after the latest winter storm left portions of the state coated in ice and in the dark because of power outages.
McCrory’s declaration waives restrictions on trucks hauling equipment and supplies on the state’s highways. It applies especially to those trucks attempting to restore electricity and removing debris from affected areas.
North Carolina’s energy cooperatives reported 55,000 power outages from the storm. A statement said Davidson, Iredell, Orange and Randolph counties are the hardest hit. Officials said line crews from unaffected areas have been sent to the stricken counties to help with restoration efforts.
Duke Energy said today it was dispatching additional crews to the hardest hit areas in North and South Carolina. In just six of the counties it serves, the utility reported approximately 321,000 customers were without service as of this afternoon. Those outages were in Forsyth, Davidson, Guilford, Randolph, Alamance and Orange counties. Of those, Guilford County reported 143,000 customers without power this afternoon.
Thousands more of Duke Energy’s customers were without electricity because of the storm, many of them on the edge of the most seriously affected areas.
EnergyUnited reported that approximately 29,000 customers were without power, and that Iredell and Davidson were hardest hit of the 19 counties in its coverage area.
Utility officials were hoping to restore the power to all areas by late today.
Train service between Charlotte and Raleigh was disrupted. State transportation officials said the northbound Carolinian, which left Charlotte this morning, was canceled because power lines came down across the tracks, leaving the train stuck for several hours before it returned to Salisbury, where passengers could catch buses.
Another train, the Crescent, was delayed in High Point because of fallen trees.
While the center of the state got snow, sleet and freezing rain, some counties were inundated by rain. The National Weather Service posted a flood warning for portions of central North Carolina, including areas near the Haw and Neuse rivers. A weather service statement said up to 2 inches of rain had fallen in the warning area.
Flood warnings were posted in more than a dozen counties in central North Carolina. In Cabarrus County, a number of roads were closed due to high water.
The Triangle and the Triad were under a winter weather advisory until Saturday morning because of snow and ice refreezing and causing dangerous travel conditions. Overnight lows were expected to dip into the 20s and lower 30s. The weather service advised against travel in the advisory area.
Highs for the weekend were expected to reach the 60s and rise into the 70s on Monday.