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UPDATE: Storm pulls plug on Beaufort Co.

Crews work along North Market Street Extension Monday afternoon to restore power to homes affected by Sunday's storm. (WDN photo/ Mona Moore)

Some Beaufort County residents may still be without power today in the wake of Sunday’s storm system that caused widespread power outages in the region.
John Pack, Beaufort County’s emergency-management coordinator, in an interview Monday afternoon, said at one point Sunday, 25,000 people were without power in Beaufort County. That number had dropped to 7,200 by 3 p.m. Monday. The county has about 48,000 residents, according to census data.
In Washington, City Manager Josh Kay was unsure when power would be restored to all Washington Electric Utilities customers.
“Don’t know the exact number of current outages we have. We’ve got various pockets we know are out,” Kay said about 11:30 a.m. Monday. “Crews have been working all night. We’ve got mutual-aid crews from other cities that are coming in (Monday) to assist us with some of the reconstruction that we need to do. The major areas that are hit are north of (U.S.) Highway 17, Macswoods area and (U.S. Highway) 264 west — the Rosedale, Iron Creek subdivisions. Those are the areas that are the most affected.”
Kay said crews would work around the clock to restore power to all affected WEU areas.
Asked when all WEU customers could expect power to be restored, Kay said it is premature to speculate about that. He did say WEU wants to have all power restored by Wednesday for the Fourth of July holiday. Kay said the speed of the restoration efforts “depends on what kind of weather we get the rest of this week.”
Tideland Electric Membership Corp. was notified by its power supplier, Dominion Power, that transmission repairs would not be completed until late Monday night, according to a Tideland news release. Transmission service to Tideland EMC was lost at 4:30 p.m. Sunday following a windstorm that impacted a wide swath of eastern North Carolina. Dominion Power originally reported two downed transmission structures near Everetts and Wharton. Officials with Dominion later notified the co-op they had discovered a third damaged transmission structure. Dominion originally felt that repairs could be completed by Monday afternoon but pushed back that timeline based on the extent of the damage and conditions on the ground.
“We are obviously frustrated with the pace of progress in resolving this transmission outage, but have been assured by Dominion that all necessary resources are on site to restore power supply to Tideland as quickly and safely as possible,” said Tideland EMC Chief Executive Officer Paul Spruill in an earlier release. “In the meantime, we encourage our members to seek heat relief wherever possible today and this evening. While we believe we have identified all major damage to our own distribution system, we may need additional time to respond to smaller, sporadic outages after Dominion restores transmission service.”
“Tideland EMC crews will remain on standby so they can re-energize the electric co-op’s distribution system as soon as the Dominion outage ends and transmission service resumes” reads the released issued later Monday.
Approximately 9,000 Tideland EMC members north of the Pamlico River, living in Beaufort, Hyde and Washington counties, were or remain impacted by this transmission outage.
Tideland Electric is a not-for-profit electric cooperative serving more than 22,000 accounts in Beaufort, Hyde, Washington, Pamlico, Craven and Dare counties. To follow power-outage updates, visit Tideland’s website at www.tidelandemc.com or visit the co-op’s Facebook page.
The loss of the transmission lines also meant some Belhaven residents and businesses were without power Sunday evening and all or part of Monday.
Jeff Brooks, a spokesman for Progress Energy, said the storm system left about 70,000 Progress Energy customers in the Carolinas without power Sunday evening.
“We have made significant headway on those restorations. We are down to about 15,000 customers remaining without power,” Brooks said late Monday morning.
As of 11:15 a.m. Monday, about 333 Progress Energy customers in Beaufort County were without power, Brooks said. From Sunday night to Monday morning, Progress Energy had restored power to about 3,000 customers in Beaufort County, Brooks said.
“So, those areas were fairly hard hit. … We expect areas in that particular region to be restored by midnight (Monday),” Brooks said.
Many CenturyLink telephone customers in the northern area of Beaufort County remained without landline service Monday afternoon, Pack said. At one point Sunday, five cellphone towers in the county were down, but that number had decreased to one by Monday afternoon.

  • Check out our photos of the storm damage from July 1 in our photo gallery here

Below is an earlier version of the article:

Local power crews, with assistance from mutual-aid power crews from other areas, are working to restore power throughout Beaufort County.

Also, in an effort to help people whose homes were damaged by Sunday’s storm system, a “cooling shelter” is slated to open at 2 p.m. today at P.S. Jones Middle School, according to officials. Anyone who plans to use the shelter is asked to enter through the rear bus entrance at the school.

In Washington, City Manager Josh Kay was unsure when power would be restored to all Washington Electric Utilities customers.

“Don’t know the exact number of current outages we have. We’ve got various pockets we know are out,” Kay said about 11:30 a.m. Monday. “Crews have been working all night. We’ve got mutual-aid crews from other cities that are coming in (Monday) to assist us with some of the reconstruction that we need to do. The major areas that are hit are north of (U.S.) Highway 17, Macswoods area and (U.S. Highway) 264 west — the Rosedale, Iron Creek subdivisions. Those are the areas that are the most affected.”

Kay said crews would work around the clock to restore power to all affected WEU areas.

Asked when all WEU customers could expect power to be restored, Kay said it is premature to speculate about that. He did say WEU wants to have all power restored by Wednesday for the Fourth of July holiday. Kay said the speed of the restoration efforts “depends on what kind of weather we get the rest of this week.”

Tideland Electric Membership Corp. was notified by its power supplier, Dominion Power, that transmission repairs would not be completed until Monday evening, according to a Tideland news release. Transmission service to Tideland EMC was lost at 4:30 p.m. Sunday following a windstorm that impacted a wide swath of eastern North Carolina. Dominion Power originally reported two downed transmission structures near Everetts and Wharton. Officials with Dominion later notified the co-op they had discovered a third damaged transmission structure. Dominion originally felt that repairs could be completed by Monday afternoon but has since pushed back that timeline based on the extent of the damage and conditions on the ground.

“We are obviously frustrated with the pace of progress in resolving this transmission outage, but have been assured by Dominion that all necessary resources are on site to restore power supply to Tideland as quickly and safely as possible,” said Tideland EMC Chief Executive Officer Paul Spruill in the release. “In the meantime, we encourage our members to seek heat relief wherever possible today and this evening. While we believe we have identified all major damage to our own distribution system, we may need additional time to respond to smaller, sporadic outages after Dominion restores transmission service.”

Approximately 9,000 Tideland EMC members north of the Pamlico River, living in Beaufort, Hyde and Washington counties, were or remain impacted by this transmission outage.

Tideland Electric is a not-for-profit electric cooperative serving more than 22,000 accounts in Beaufort, Hyde, Washington, Pamlico, Craven and Dare counties. To follow power-outage updates, visit Tideland’s website at www.tidelandemc.com or visit the co-op’s Facebook page.

Jeff Brooks, a spokesman for Progress Energy, said the storm system left about 70,000 Progress Energy customers in the Carolinas without power Sunday evening.

“We have made significant headway on those restorations. We are down to about 15,000 customers remaining without power,” Brooks said late Monday morning.

As of 11:15 a.m. Monday, about 333 Progress Energy customers in Beaufort County were without power, Brooks said. From Sunday night to Monday morning, Progress Energy had restored power to about 3,000 customers in Beaufort County, Brooks said.

“So, those areas were fairly hard hit. … We expect areas in that particular region to be restored by midnight (Monday),” Brooks said.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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