‘We were lucky’

By Keith Strange

March 7, 2014

While there were some minor accidents and power outages associated with the latest winter blast Thursday night and Friday morning, officials note that Surry County was largely spared the trouble experienced by nearby counties.

According to county Emergency Services Director John Shelton, rescuers responded to about 50 accidents Thursday night and Friday, but he said the vast majority of those accidents were minor fender-benders.

“We were very prepared for any eventuality, and we fared very well during this latest storm,” he said late Friday morning. “We had several accidents but no serious injuries.”

Shelton also said several trees fell around the county, knocking down a “few” power lines.

“We have some folks without power, but compared to what counties like Guilford and Forsyth are going through, Surry County was largely spared,” he said.

According to officials with Duke Energy, 78 customers in Surry County were without power.

“The areas that were the hardest hit were Greensboro, Burlington, High Point and surrounding areas,” said Luke Currin, a spokesman for the energy company. “That’s where the storm dropped primarily ice, and Ice is tough on power systems because it builds up on lines and tree limbs and they fall.”

An online report revealed that shortly after 11 a.m., Friday, more than 400,000 customers were without power. That number includes 211 customers in Yadkin County, 437 in Stokes County, more than 33,000 customers in Forsyth County, 123,228 in Guilford County and nearly 46,000 in Randolph County.

Currin said officials are still working out the logistics of how to get the power back on in those hard-hit areas.

“Currently we are assessing damage in the hardest hit areas, and crews are working to determine the kind of manpower and equipment they’ll need to restore power.”

As far as total accumulations, that depends on where you live, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

“One of the heaviest snow reports is from the Lowgap area,” said Mike Sporer, NWS meteorologist. “County-wide, the southern part of Surry County has seen less accumulation because of the mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain, but as we progress north, we’re looking at some five and six-inch totals. Just to the south of you there was a major ice storm.”

Shelton agreed that the stars aligned just right to prevent more serious issues like those experienced by surround areas.

“It was a wet and heavy snow with a lot of black ice (Thursday) night,” he said. “But most of the people were asleep while that was going on, and by the time people were getting out it was mostly snow and slush.”

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.