Co-op Crews Respond in Force to Massive Pre-Winter Storm

Electric cooperative crews and staff from across North Carolina responded in force this week to a major storm system that dumped record-breaking amounts of snow and ice on the central and western regions of the state, with some areas receiving up to 20 inches of wintry precipitation.

Linemen worked to quickly restore power despite treacherous conditions. (photo courtesy of Surry-Yadkin EMC)

Outages from the storm peaked at about 47,200 on Sunday afternoon, with the highest numbers in Randolph, Union and Surry counties. Parts of western North Carolina were hit especially hard, and crews in some locations faced limited accessibility and difficult travel conditions that slowed restoration. Despite the treacherous circumstances and ongoing precipitation in some areas, crews made steady progress and reduced outages to about 3,000 by Tuesday afternoon.

Randolph EMC trucks at work in the midst of the winter storm. (photo courtesy of Randolph EMC)

In the spirit of cooperation among cooperatives, crews from coastal and eastern North Carolina co-ops that were not impacted by the storm joined the response efforts in the mountains, foothills and western Piedmont, along with cooperative crews from Georgia and South Carolina.

Crews from Surry-Yadkin EMC were joined by sister crews from Brunswick Electric who assisted in restoration efforts (photo courtesy of Surry-Yadkin EMC).

“It has been a challenging fall for the North Carolina’s electric cooperatives and our members across this state, with this early winter storm hitting not long after Hurricanes Florence and Michael,” said Nelle Hotchkiss, senior vice president and chief operating officer for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “The good news is that our crews and staff are always well prepared, and we can always call on the statewide and national network of electric cooperatives to assist during times of crisis. Together, we can weather any storm and demonstrate the cooperative difference to our members and communities.”

Union Power crews responding to outages following the storm. (photo courtesy of Union Power Cooperative)

For more storm information, including winter safety tips, visit the Outages and Safety section of our website.