Published On: Thu, Jun 16th, 2011

Close to 18,000 without Power after Storms (updated)

UPDATED 6-16-11 at 2:57pm

By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.

ONE FEATHER STAFF

                Storms with high winds and lightning moved through the area the night of Wednesday, June 15 causing massive power outages throughout Jackson and Swain counties. 

Snapped tree limbs and branches were abundant following a severe storm that blew through the area on the night of Wednesday, June 15. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photos)

                According to Duke Energy, as of Thursday morning, a total of 9,681 in Jackson County are without power and a total of 7,791 in Swain County are without power. 

                Duke Energy reported this afternoon (Thursday, June 16) that it expects to have power restored in Jackson County by 11pm tonight.  Power is not expected to be restored to Swain County until Sunday, June 19 at 11pm. 

                “The damages are scattered,” said Betsy Conway, Duke Energy spokesperson.  “We did have crews working throughout the night and we have crews out assessing the damages this morning.”

This tree, located along the bank of the Oconaluftee River, shows the effect of being hit by lightning.

                She said the crews are still in the assessment phase trying to get an accurate gauge on the full extent of damages. 

                “Crews will be working as quickly and safely as they can to restore power,” said Conway. 

Downed limbs littered the landscape of the Oconaluftee Island Park on the morning of Thursday, June 16.

   To report a power outage to Duke Power, call 1-800-POWERON (769-3766). 

                Several tribal programs and buildings were without power on Thursday morning. 

                 David Wachacha, EBCI Emergency Management program, related that the Emergency Operations Center was activated as of Thursday morning and that Emergency Management program staff was currently performing wellness checks on the elderly and homebound.  He related that staff is also out doing damage assessments throughout the reservation. 

A tree crushed this camper parked at the campground behind the old Hungry Bear Restaurant. Residents told One Feather contributing photographer Vita Nations that no one was injured and no one was inside when the tree fell. (VITA NATIONS/One Feather contributor)

                Wachacha commented that there were no major injuries or fatalities that they were aware of.

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