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Snow and ice hit South in latest winter storm

Posted on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 9:00 am

A Tennessee Department of Transportation truck, equipped with a plow, makes its way along the state Route 55 toward the Lincoln County line on Monday afternoon. While some of Moore County seemed to have escaped the icy grip of the wintry storm, other portions of the area near Chestnut Ridge and around the Finney Rd. area had power outages. It was even worse in other parts of the state, where downed power lines and hazardous road conditions brought things to a halt. The storm resulted in the closure of school on Tuesday and forced the postponement of the District 9-A basketball tournament in Eagleville. Later this week, temperatures were forecast to drop below zero. (MCN Photo by Robert Holman)

A Tennessee Department of Transportation truck, equipped with a plow, makes its way along the state Route 55 toward the Lincoln County line on Monday afternoon. While some of Moore County seemed to have escaped the icy grip of the wintry storm, other portions of the area near Chestnut Ridge and around the Finney Rd. area had power outages. It was even worse in other parts of the state, where downed power lines and hazardous road conditions brought things to a halt. The storm resulted in the closure of school on Tuesday and forced the postponement of the District 9-A basketball tournament in Eagleville. Later this week, temperatures were forecast to drop below zero. (MCN Photo by Robert Holman)

LYNCHBURG — A snow and ice storm blasted parts of the Mid-Atlantic and the South on Monday and Tuesday, creating treacherous road conditions and leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

Officials — hoping to avoid a repeat of a disastrous February 2014 storm, when rush-hour traffic and a thin coating of ice left people stuck in cars or abandoning vehicles in Atlanta and Raleigh, N.C., — urged people to stay off the roads in several states, but wrecks were reported along slick streets.

Schools and offices closed for the day, outages hit especially hard in the Carolinas and Georgia, and hundreds of flights were canceled.

In Tennessee, almost every school was closed again on Tuesday and Moore County’s scheduled basketball games in the District 9-A tournament in Eagleville were postponed until Thursday and Friday.

Businesses and government offices were closed and court was cancelled in Lynchburg on Tuesday as more than 225 Duck River Electric Membership Corp. (DREMC) customers were still without power at 10 a.m.

DREMC, which services Lynchburg, Shelbyville, Manchester, Decherd, Lewisburg, Chapel Hill and Columbia, had crews working through the night Monday and into Tuesday. DREMC officials said the outages could affect some customers for several days.

The Manchester area was the most effected, with more than 5,300 customers still without service Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, some 203 members in the Lynchburg area were still without service, many since 3:30 p.m. on Monday.

At 7:15 p.m. Monday evening, DREMC reported 193 total outages effecting 10,558 members in its service area. DREMC was receiving about 500 calls per hour, creating a logjam on their phone lines as well. That number increased overnight as conditions worsened.

More than 13,000 households, farms and businesses served by DREMC were without power Tuesday morning in the wake of the worst winter ice storm to hit Middle Tennessee in several years.

Ice-coated trees toppled into lines. Branches and limbs sheared off and dropped on conductors, and ice encased lines fell to the ground in a broad impact area, stretching from southern Marshall County to northern Coffee County.

To make matters worse, around 5 a.m. Tuesday, one of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s 161-kV transmission poles fell on the tap at DREMC’s Boynton Valley substation near Manchester. Loss of the feed affected many co-op members. A back-feeding solution was being tried, but load was heavy on the system due to high demand.

The eastern and western parts of DREMC’s service territory had fewer outages. Crews from these areas were helping respond to the hundreds of outages affecting the Lewisburg, Chapel Hill, Shelbyville, Lynchburg and Manchester districts.

On Tuesday morning, DREMC linemen were aided by crews and bucket trucks from Middle Tennessee EMC, Sequatchie Valley Electric Cooperative, Fayetteville Public Utilities and contractors. Other mutual aid crews were expected to arrive as a massive outage restoration effort was underway.

The task of restoring power was daunting due to the corridor of damage cut through the center of the service territory. Trees and debris across roads made access to certain trouble spots difficult, and icy roads were still hazardous.

Freezing rain fell Monday until dark. During the evening, winds picked up and brought more trees and limbs to the ground and on power lines. Low temperatures fell into the upper teens early Tuesday morning.

Across the South, the storm’s effects left 250,000 consumers without electricity, handicapped travel and forced cancellation of thousands of airline flights. Forecasters say a second round of winter weather is due later in the week, along with bitter cold.

DREMC members without power are urged to brace for an extended period of service interruption, in some cases several days due to the severity of system damage. Those with health issues or other critical needs should seek to stay with family and friends or at public shelters.

At 7:15 p.m. Monday evening, DREMC reported 193 total outages effecting 10,558 members in its service area. DREMC was receiving about 500 calls per hour, creating a logjam on their phone lines as well. That number increased overnight as conditions worsened.

—By ROBERT HOLMAN, Editor & Publisher (Additional information from DREMC reports)

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Icicles hang off the road sign at the end of Old Fayetteville Hwy. near the southern end of Moore County on Monday afternoon. (MCN Photo by Robert Holman)

Icicles hang off the road sign at the end of Old Fayetteville Hwy. near the southern end of Moore County on Monday afternoon. (MCN Photo by Robert Holman)

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