Frigid Temperatures, High Winds Hitting Home
Around 1,000 people are still without power in Columbus county as of 2 p.m., as a bitterly cold weather system crosses the area.
While the high winds are expected to subside this evening, the National Weather Service said temperatures will be in the teens, with even lower wind chills tonight.
As the bitterly cold blast moved in from the southwest this morning, trees and limbs began falling across the county, snapping power lines and fouling utility poles. Crews from Duke, Four County and Brunswick Electric are deployed across the county making repairs.
At one point, Duke Progress Energy reported more than 200,000 customers without power.
Fire departments across the county were called out to move trees off roadways. In Whiteville, the canopy at the Go Gas on Madison Street was damaged after being bounced on its moorings by the high wind. The sign at the station -- which has survived Hurricanes Matthew and Florence -- threatened to blow off at one point. Volunteers have provided firewood to the city's two homeless camps in preparation oof the storm. No official shelters or warming stations have opened in Columbus.
The NWS urged residents to leave faucets dripping tonight and through the Christmas holiday. Check on pets and outside livestock.
Power outages should all be repaired by Friday evening (today) but dangerously cold conditions will continue through Monday morning.