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So far, the power is staying on

So far the power has remained on.


With snow covered trees and the wind picking up, forecasters warned of the possibility of power outages in the aftermath of the big Valentines week snowstorm. But as of 10:30 a.m. Duke energy reported 15 outages in Henderson County and none in Buncombe, Transylvania and Polk. Overall, the utility reported 13,338 outages in all of the Carolinas.
With public officials from Gov. Pat McCrory on down urging North Carolinians to stay inside, city and county offices in the area announced they will be closed on Thursday.

Henderson County, the city of Hendersonville and Laurel Park had announced they were closing on Thursday and it would be no surprise if others followed suit. Henderson County schools will be closed. Nearly every public meeting was called off. Laurel Park postponed a work session and Mills River postponed its regular meeting.
Henderson County Manager Steve Wyatt urged people to eliminate unnecessary travel on Henderson County roads, streets and highways.
That will allow the North Carolina Department of Transportation and local municipalities to push snow off the roads and make it easier for law enforcement, fire departments and emergency crews to respond in the event of an emergency, the county said in a news release.
"Henderson County emergency management, emergency medical services, and rescue squad personnel are at the ready to provide our citizens with the appropriate emergency response. Shelter teams are on standby at First Baptist Church in Hendersonville and the WNC Ag Center Boone Building (log cabin building). For shelter inquiries please call (828) 693-5605."
In Laurel Park, Town Manager Alison Melnikova said public works crews be working overnight and throughout the day to plow and treat the roads. The Police Department continues to provide patrol and emergency response services. The Laurel Park Police Department may be reached for non-emergency purposes at 674-0203.
Hendersonville City Manager John Connet said city officials held a storm planning meeting on Monday and planning for emergency response and the clearing of the city's 68 miles of streets. City crews began plowing the streets when about two inches had accumulated. The police department was switching to four-wheel drive vehicles and would be able to use four-wheel drive vehicles from public works if needed, he said.

While forecasters warned that sleet and freezing rain could cause power outages, Duke Energy reported just 986 outages in all of the Carolinas and none in Henderson County.
In a news release, McCrory warned people to stay off the roads.

"We're now seeing what we have been warning people about for the past 24 hours. This storm is dangerous," he said. "Road conditions are treacherous in many areas. We can't stress enough: stay tuned to local media and pay attention to the weather. Do not travel unless it is an emergency. You are better off staying where you are in a safe place than getting on the road."
Here's the rest of the news release from the governor's office:

Between midnight to 3:30 p.m. today, Highway Patrol troopers responded to 1,360 calls for service across the state. Troopers typically respond to approximately 800 calls daily.
By 3:30 pm, the utilities reported about 101,600 power outages statewide, mostly in New Hanover, Brunswick, Columbus and Pender counties. More power outages are expected over the next few days as conditions continue to deteriorate.

The North Carolina National Guard now has about 170 guardsmen with Humvees co-located with local emergency managers to help rescue crews responding to calls. A number of these have been paired with troopers to respond to accident and stranded motorists.

Ten shelters are open in nine counties, with others prepared to open as needed. So far, shelters have opened in Cumberland, Haywood, Iredell, Johnson (two shelters open), Mecklenburg, Moore, Polk, Richmond and Scotland counties.

Local Emergency Operations Centers are open in 37 counties to respond to storm requests for additional supplies and resources.

Governor McCrory declared a State of Emergency yesterday, enabling him to mobilize the necessary resources to respond to the storm. It also is the first step in seeking federal funds to help defray the cost of providing emergency services, clearing debris and repairing any damaged public infrastructure. The declaration is executed under the Emergency Management Act. Forty-three counties have declared local States of Emergency in response to the storm.

NCDOT encourages motorists to get the latest information on road conditions by calling 511, visiting the department's real-time travel information website and following NCDOT's Twitter accounts.