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ICE KNOCKS OUT POWER FOR 4,400 CUSTOMERS

Ice overnight caused trees and power lines to go down throughout Henderson County, knocking out power to 4,486 homes and businesses on the holiday weekend.

Duke Energy reported widespread power outages in Henderson and Buncombe counties and the town of Laurel Park also reported numerous trees down and urged residents to "please stay home even if you don't have power" to crews could clear roads and restore power.

The ice won't last long. The National Weather Service called for a high of 54 today with the chance of drizzle or rain diminishing after 1 p.m. Sunday should be warmer yet with a high of 59.

Laurel Park Town Manager Alison Alexander, reached as she was out surveying the town's 34 miles of roadway at midmorning Saturday, said Duke Energy crews had gotten power restored to most of Lower Laurel Park.

"The upper part of the mountain doesn;t have power yet," she said. The latest forecast she had seen indicated all power would be restored by 11 o'clock Saturday night.

"We've just had ice on the trees. We're cleanring the roads. The primary roads are clear, we're still working on some of the smaleler secondary roads but they'll be passable today.We have no reports of property damage from trees down."

The ice had caused no major accidents or injuries and had not been severe enough to activate the county's emergency operations center.

"It varies from location to location," Emergency Management Director Jimmy Brissie said of the ice buildup. "The southern part of the county and western part of the county seem to have more locations where there are trees down and power lines down than the rest of the county. The fire departments are all handling the calls with their regular operation."

At 11 a.m. Duke Energy reported 1,768 outages in Laurel Park, 1,905 in Green River, 249 in Hendersonville, 223 in Flat Rock and 101 in Zirconia.