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CHOCO
Dec 6th, 2002, 09:12 AM
Early Winter Storm Hits East Coast; 1.5 Million Lose Power in Carolinas
By DOUGLAS JEHL


ASHINGTON, Dec. 4 The first major snowstorm of the season uncommon in its timing and its intensity bullied its way up the Eastern Seaboard today, snarling airports and highways, closing schools and offices, and blanketing New York with more snow in a single day than the city received through all of last winter.

The storm has been blamed for at least 20 deaths since it swept across the Plains earlier this week. At least six inches of snow piled up today in New York, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia, the heaviest snowfall in those cities in nearly two years.

But the most severe impact was felt in the Carolinas, where ice toppled tree branches and power lines and left more than 1.5 million homes without electricity. Utility companies said it might be days before service was restored.

In Charlotte, N.C., known for its canopy of oaks, cracking limbs reverberated like gunshots and falling branches crashed into homes and cars, causing destruction that became evident by dawn.

"This is the worst ice storm we've seen," said E. O. Ferrell, senior vice president of electric distribution for Duke Power. The utility reported power losses from Anderson, S.C., to Durham, N.C., and it advised hundreds of thousands of shivering customers to "consider other locations due to the severity of this storm."

More than 1,000 utility workers from Georgia and Alabama were heading to North Carolina to assist in the power restoration efforts, to repair damage that Duke Power said had exceeded that caused by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

In Washington, federal government offices remained open despite the storm, but thousands of workers stayed home, with permission from their managers.

President Bush joked that heavy snow on the South Lawn of the White House had made for something of a household challenge. "The dogs have been out," Mr. Bush told reporters. "We had trouble locating one," he said, referring to Barney, a short-legged Scottish terrier.

For many, though, the oddest aspect of the storm was that so much snow fell so early in the season; nothing like it has happened in New York City since 1938, according to meteorological records. Coming just a week after Thanksgiving, and with leaves still clinging to the sycamore trees in Bryant Park, the snow was a blustery dose of weather reality for those lulled by several years of mild winters into thinking the season is no longer what it used to be.

The six inches that fell on Central Park by 9:45 p.m. was more than double the 3.5 inches that was recorded throughout all of last winter.

"This could be payback time," said Frederick J. Gadomski, a meteorologist at Pennsylvania State University. "Cold and snow are still a part of New York winter weather. This early taste of winter should be a reminder of that."

Schools closed in parts of the Carolinas as well as in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Air travelers faced cancellations and long delays, while commuters had to contend with heavy traffic backups and many accidents.

"We've got wrecks everywhere," said Sgt. D. A. Shaver of the Virginia State Police.

In places like Rittenhouse Hardware in Philadelphia, steady streams of customers bundled in winter coats stood in long lines to buy shovels and heavy bags of salt.

"We've been sitting on those items for four years now, so this storm is white gold to us," said Bill Gallagher, a store employee. "Everyone's freaking out."

Snow started falling as early as Monday in the mountains of New Mexico, where up to a foot had accumulated by Wednesday. Parts of northwestern Oklahoma also got nearly a foot of snow, and 10 inches had fallen by today in the mountains of western Virginia.

At least five of the weather-related deaths came in Kentucky, and three more in Missouri, all in traffic accidents on Wednesday, as the storm swept from the Plains into the Mid-Atlantic. By this evening, the worst of the weather had passed into the Northeast, but freezing temperatures overnight were expected to make roads treacherous and to complicate the efforts to restore electric power.

Duke Power said about 1.2 million homes and businesses were blacked out today in North and South Carolina, far surpassing the previous record number affected by Hurricane Hugo.

Carolina Power & Light reported nearly 470,000 customers without service in North Carolina. Its worst natural disaster was Hurricane Fran in 1996, which blacked out 791,000 customers.

Other utilities in the Carolinas had thousands of customers without power, and power failures also hit parts of Virginia and West Virginia. It was the second day without power in parts of Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma.

"The only way we had coffee this morning is we had a camp stove," said Morgan Chapman, who stood outside her house in Raleigh, N.C., surveying the four broken pine trees in her backyard as more treetops plunged to the ground in a noisy crash of limbs and ice. "I don't like that sound. We had two fall while we were eating breakfast this morning."

Joe Putnam, a computer salesman, was walking his three young children around their neighborhood because the children were restless. Mr. Putnam also spent a restless night listening to power transformers exploding.

"It looks like lightning," Mr. Putnam said. "They reflect off the clouds. I waited seven or eight seconds after seeing the flash, then heard the boom. They were blowing all over."

CHOCO
Dec 6th, 2002, 02:49 PM
I hope these people don't suffer too much. That's alot of people.

CHOCO
Dec 6th, 2002, 03:05 PM
Much of South and East plagued by early storm
1.5 million homes lose power in the Carolinas

Douglas Jehl, New York Times Friday, December 6, 2002


Washington -- More than a million people were left without electricity in the Carolinas Thursday as one of the worst ice and snow storms in years snapped tree limbs, snarled traffic and shut schools across the East.

At least 22 deaths have been blamed on the storm since it swept across the Plains earlier this week. Six inches or more of snow piled up Thursday in New York, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia, the heaviest snowfall in those cities in nearly two years.

But hardest hit were the Carolinas, where ice broke tree branches and power lines and left more than 1.5 million homes without electricity. Utility companies said it might be days before service could be restored.

In Charlotte, known for its canopy of oaks, cracking limbs reverberated like gunshots, and falling branches crashed into homes and cars.

"This is the worst ice storm we've seen," said E.O. Ferrell, senior vice president of electric distribution for Duke Power.

The utility reported power losses from Anderson, S.C., to Durham, N.C., and it advised hundreds of thousands of shivering customers to "consider other locations due to the severity of this storm."

More than 1,000 utility workers from Georgia and Alabama were heading to North Carolina to help restore power and to repair damage that Duke Power said had exceeded that caused by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Coming more than two weeks before the start of winter, the storm brought an unusually early dose of snow, ice and misery to a region lulled by a notably mild winter last year.

Schools closed in parts of the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Air travelers faced cancellations and long delays, while commuters had to contend with big traffic backups and many accidents.

"We've got wrecks everywhere," said Sgt. D.A. Shaver of the Virginia State Police.

In places like Rittenhouse Hardware in Philadelphia, steady streams of people bundled in their winter coats stood in long lines to buy shovels and heavy bags of salt.

"We've been sitting on those items for four years now, so this storm is white gold to us," said Bill Gallagher, a store employee. "Everyone's freaking out."

Snow started falling as early as Monday in the mountains of New Mexico, where up to a foot had accumulated by Wednesday. Parts of northwestern Oklahoma also got nearly a foot of snow, and 10 inches had fallen by Thursday in the mountains of western Virginia.

At least five of the weather-related deaths came in Kentucky and three more in Missouri, all in traffic accidents on Wednesday. Thursday, police said a Virginia woman had frozen to death after her car slid off the road.

By day's end Thursday, the worst of the weather had passed into the Northeast, but freezing temperatures overnight were expected to make roads treacherous and to complicate the efforts to restore electric power.

Duke Power said about 1.2 million homes and businesses were blacked out Thursday in North and South Carolina, far surpassing the record number affected by Hurricane Hugo.

Carolina Power & Light reported nearly 470,000 customers without service in North Carolina.

Other utilities in the Carolinas also had thousands of customers without power, and power failures also hit parts of Virginia and West Virginia.

CHOCO
Dec 6th, 2002, 06:35 PM
Storm cuts power to millions

December 6, 2002

BY ROGER PETTERSON

Millions of people shivered without electricity Thursday in the Carolinas as one of the worst ice- and snowstorms in years snapped tree limbs, snarled air travel around the country and kept children home from school in a large part of the East.

At least 20 deaths had been blamed on the storm since it blew across the southern Plains earlier in the week. Up to a foot of snow fell in places from New Mexico to North Carolina.

''It's horrible out there,'' said Errol Carter, a lawyer from Edison, N.J. ''I live less than 10 minutes from the train station, and I almost got in two accidents on the way there.''

''We've got wrecks everywhere,'' Virginia State Police Sgt. D.A. Shaver said.

Schools closed in parts of the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky.

The Carolinas were the hardest hit as the weight of ice and snow snapped tree limbs and sent them crashing onto power lines. In Raleigh, N.C., the crack of buckling pines and oaks sounded like gunfire during hunting season.

Matt and Dawn Heric had been without heat in Durham, N.C., since the electricity went off late Wednesday. ''Unfortunately, none of the fireplaces are serviceable,'' Matt Heric said of their 90-year-old house.

North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley declared a state of emergency and waived most weight limits for trucks removing debris and repairing utility lines.

About 3,000 stranded travelers spent the night at North Carolina's Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. Travelers faced cancellations and long flight delays at the New York City area's LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark, N.J., airports.

One Delta shuttle left LaGuardia for Washington on time at 7:30 a.m., but before it could land, Washington's Reagan National had shut down. The pilot announced he was returning to LaGuardia, but the flight was diverted again, eventually landing at Hartford, Conn., shortly after 10 a.m.

The steady snowfall in New York City turned busy avenues and sidewalks treacherously slick, but tourists busily snapped photos.

''This just seems like the way New York should be, you know?'' said Jennifer McDaniel of Detroit. ''The snow and the lights and decorations--it just seems right.''

AP

Barrie_Dude
Dec 6th, 2002, 06:43 PM
Of course you realize that they are more or less acustomed to this sort of thing! As a long time former resident of South Carolina (Bout an hour from Charlotte) I know that they get a lot of hurricanes and wind up losing power quite often. But I do feel for them as I love that part of the country!