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Power outages climb but Duke projects restoration today

A windstorm knocked out power to hundreds of homes on Sunday. Utility crews blocked Greenville Highway at Rutledge Drive to repair a line. A windstorm knocked out power to hundreds of homes on Sunday. Utility crews blocked Greenville Highway at Rutledge Drive to repair a line.

A windstorm knocked out power to more than 1,600 homes and businesses in Henderson County on Sunday and wind gusts as high as 50 mph could continue to batter the area through Monday morning.

 

At 8 a.m. Duke Energy reported 1,662 outages in Henderson County, by far the most in the state. By noon the number had grown to 1,799 and Polk County had overtaken Henderson County, with 3,420 outages. There were 1,347 outages in Buncombe County and 37 in Transylvania County. Greenville County, S.C., 3,675 outages. On its website, Duke Energy projected that power would be restored by 1 p.m.

It was the second straight Sunday that a winter weather event caused widespread power outages and, initially, hit Henderson County harder than the rest of the state. Last week's ice storm caused more outages in Henderson County than any county in the N.C. mountains. Outages reached a high of just over 20,000 last Sunday, second only to Forsyth County.

A high wind warning remains in effect until 7 a.m. Monday. A cold front moving east of the region Sunday morning is bringing the strong winds and much colder air. Northwest winds  increased by daybreak and then maximize during the daytime hours. "Gusty mountain winds will persist into tonight, while wind gusts will slowly diminish east of the mountains," the National Weather Service said. "The most intense area of damaging wind gusts today will likely impact locations along and near the Blue Ridge escarpment."

The forecast called for winds from 14 to 23 mph today with gusts up to 49 mph. The low temperature Monday morning is expected to be 15. Martin Luther King Day is expected to be sunny, with a high near 34 and wind diminishing to 5 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. The low Monday night will be around 17. Tuesday should be sunny, with a high near 38. There's a chance of freezing rain early Wednesday, turning to rain later.