Staff and wire report
Robeson County ducked the snow but Thursday night’s fast-moving storm of strong rain and high winds caused some havoc locally, downing tree limbs and ower outages that plunged thousands of people into darkness.
It also gave students of the Public Schools of Robeson County a two-hour break from school as classes were delay.
The National Weather Service did not report any frozen precipitation in Robeson County, although some had been predicted as a possiblity for a narrow two-hour window this morning.
According to Walter White, a spokesman for Lumber River Electric Membership Corporation, 4,500 customers in Pembroke and Red Springs were left in the dark for about 90 minutes when Progress Energy transmission equipment serving his company’s substation failed at just after 6:30 p.m. He said he was uncertain the cause of the transmission failure, but his company is investigating the incident to prevent any future problems.
White also said that tree limbs falling on lines caused other scattered outages throughout his company’s service area.
“There were probably about 100 customers affected by these scattered individual outages,” he said.
Progress Energy reported that about 8,300 customers, 3,600 in Pembroke, lost power when the transmission equipment failed at 6:33 p.m. Power was restored at 7:54 p.m.
In a separate incident, 1,300 customers, 500 in Pembroke, lost power again when a vehicle hit a pole at 7:55 p.m., according to a Progress Energy spokesman. Power was restored at 8:43 p.m.
Charles Britt, Robeson County’s interim assistant county manager and director of Emergency Services, said this morning that except for the power outages, he was “not aware” of any other storm-related problems.
“We were lucky. I’m glad this storm wasn’t bad,” he said.
First Sgt. Ardeen Hunt of the state Highway Patrol said the weather caused “quite a few accidents, but nothing serious.”
The fast-moving snowstorm dumped covered much of the state west of Robeson County.
The National Weather Service reported 7 inches of snow in Newland in Avery County, a 5 inches of snow were reported near Bethel Hill near the Virginia state.
Other parts of the Southeast were digging out today — and weather played a role in at least one death.
In Virginia, the areas hardest were in the southwest, where the National Weather Service says 13 inches were reported in Giles County, while Grayson County and the Galax area received about a foot.
Road crews in that part of the state were out in force early today to plow and treat roads. Hardest hit was Interstate 77. The highway still had snow cover and there were reports of disabled vehicles along the roadway.
While the winter storm wasn’t as severe as initially feared, icy roads remained a concern this morning and some school systems decided to open late.
Parts of Mississippi saw 2 to 4 inches of snow on the ground Thursday. In Lowndes County, Highway Patrol spokesman Cpl. Criss Turnipseed said Johnnie A. Matthews, 64, of West Point died when his car collided with a downed tree about 5 a.m. on Mississippi Highway 50. The forecast in Robeson County is now clear, with a high today of about 48 degrees, and highs on Saturday and Sunday in the mid-50s.