LAURINBURG —As predicted, this weekend’s storm did not provide much snow for Scotland County, but the wintry weather left the area with a myriad of other problems.
A heavy accumulation of ice on tree limbs and utility lines knocked out power for a big swath of the county. Fallen branches littered Laurinburg streets Friday afternoon, even blocking passage on some city streets. Monday morning most of the downed limbs were piled on sidewalks.
For some residents, like Jane Hinson, electricity went out Friday and not restored until Sunday.
“The storm has meant a dark cold house for most of the weekend,” Hinson said.
City of Laurinburg Utilities Director Robert Smith said crews worked around the clock over weekend trying to restore power. Monday afternoon, Smith said there were still a few individual homes without power.
“We still have some experiencing outages and they probably will be until the middle of the week,” he said. “They are the homes who had lateral damage from trees falling and they will have to get an electrician to go out to make repairs.”
Reports of outages started around 1 or 2 pm. Friday, he said.
“But at one point and time the whole town was without power. All circuits were down.
City workers were able to get the substations back around 11 p.m. Friday. Prior to that the substations would be up and within an hour it would be out again.
“Ice kept accumulating. Then a wind storm came through about 6 p.m. and that caused havoc on us,” Smith said.
The city of Lumberton sent three trucks and three crews to assist Laurinburg on Saturday and Sunday.
Scotland County Emergency Management Director Roylin Hammond estimated that there were approximately 10,000 customers without power at some time during the storm.
Duke Energy reported that it had 4600 customers without power Friday night in Scotland County.
“With Scotland County’s permission, Duke staged outside resources at the Laurinburg/Maxton airport spec building on Saturday morning and begin restoring the remaining 3400 outages. By Sunday morning, Duke still had 1400 outages. By 10:30 p.m. Sunday night Duke had restored all but one customer in Scotland County. This does not include the Lumber River Electric and Pee Dee Electric customers that were also without power,” said Hammond.
The storm also knocked out power to traffic signals causing several fender-benders in Laurinburg. At least one vehicle was damaged when a large limb fell on it.
Chief Deputy Charles Sessoms said the Laurinburg Police Department responded to seven accidents over the weekend.
According to Hammond, the 911 Center received 687 calls on Friday due to the storm.
“That is six times the normal 911 call volume for a 24-hour period,” he said. “The 911 Call Center received an additional 800 calls on the administrative line during the same period.”
Sessoms praised not only his officers but all emergency personnel.
“Overall the officers, public safety, a lot of the city, street, electrical workers as well as the emergency and fire personnel did a great job. I also think the citizens did a great job of careful driving, monitoring speed and staying home.”
Hammond added that Public Works, DOT crews and volunteer fire departments “did a tremendous job” getting the roadways clear for the public work crews.
“All in all things went pretty well. We were lucky the storm wasn’t any worse than it was.”
Maria D. Grandy can be reached at 910-506-3171.