Caldwell, Wilkes hardest hit by winter storm; power outages more than halved

Caldwell, Wilkes hardest hit by winter storm; power outages more than halved
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SPECIAL REPORT. By Renee Whitener. December 9, 2018. LENOIR, NC — Blue Ridge Energy line technicians have outages down to 871 members without power as of 4:30 pm Sunday, after a height of 2,269 as of noon today.

The foothill areas of Caldwell and Wilkes counties in the cooperative’s service area received the most damage and outages due to over a foot of heavy, wet snow weighing on trees and limbs, causing them to fall into power lines. Temperatures in the mountain counties in the cooperative’s service area were a few degrees colder, creating a lighter, fluffier snow that left significantly less damage and outages.

As of 4:30 pm Sunday, outages stand at: 457 in Caldwell County; 375 in Wilkes County; 29 in Watauga County; and 10 in Ashe County.

Crews continue working this afternoon and evening but due to damage in very remote, difficult to reach locations, some outages may go into Monday before full restoration is achieved. Conditions are treacherous, with crews working to reach some locations by foot, and line trucks pushing snow up to their bumpers on many rural roads.

Line technicians began responding to outages at 2:47 am Sunday when issues first began.

Blue Ridge Energy reminds members to report all outages by calling 1-800-448-2383 or by using the Blue Ridge Energy mobile app. Outage updates are available on the cooperative’s live outage map at or on the mobile app.

Blue Ridge Energy serves some 76,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, and Alleghany counties as well as parts of Avery, Alexander and Wilkes counties. Learn more at or on the cooperative’s social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About The Author

As Editor and Publisher of Blowing Rock News, David Rogers has chosen a second professional career instead of retirement. For more than 35 years, he served in the financial services industry, principally in institutional equity research. He grew up in the oilfields north of Bakersfield, California and was a high school English major and honors student. From an economically disadvantaged family background, he worked his way through college (on grounds crew and in dining hall, as well as advertising sales for college newspapers), attending Johnston College at the University of Redlands, Claremont McKenna College, and California State University, Bakersfield. Other jobs to pay for college included a Teamsters Union job in South Central Los Angeles, a roustabout in the central California oilfields, and moving sprinkler pipe and hoeing weeds in the cotton fields west of Bakersfield. Rogers' financial services industry career took him from Bakersfield to La Jolla and San Diego, then to Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Newport Beach and Charlotte before arriving in the High Country in 2000 to take a volunteer position coaching the rugby team at Appalachian State University and write independent stock market research. He spent three years as a senior financial writer for a global financial PR firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Beijing, Tel Aviv, and Frankfort (Germany). Rogers is the author of "The 90% Solution: Higher Returns, Less Risk" (2006, John Wiley & Co., New York). He is married to wife Kim (Jenkins Realtors), and shares in the joy provided by her three grown children and five grandchildren.

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