“I don't know about the total damage, but it will take a crane and about $1,700 just to get the tree removed from my house,” McMillan said on Tuesday. “I know that there is gutter, siding, roof, shingle, shutter, satellite dish, and the Lord only knows what I'll find when the tree is removed. After all that, I am lucky that no windows were broken and so far the house is not breached, unless the roof leading into the attic is. The man organizing the work is Stacy Flannigan, and he estimated that the tree is about 5-6 tons.”
“These conditions are not the most ideal to work in,” McMillan said, referring to the bitter cold this week and continuing wind and snow flurries. “God blessed me by not letting the tree crush my little day room beside my brick house,” he said. The tree was laying across the day room, leaning against, and on top of the roof on the second story brick part of the house.
The high wind and extreme cold led to power problems around the county early this week. The following report was provided by Renee Whitener, director of public relations with Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation.
Only two outages occurred in Ashe County Wednesday and both were due to heavy demand caused by extremely cold temperatures that affected transformers serving these locations: at Doe Meadows Drive, three people were affected from 6:13 a.m. to 10 a.m. and on US Hwy 221N, five people were affected from 5:19 p.m. to 5:44 p.m.
On Monday, several outages throughout the day resulted from wind damage from extremely high winds. In the Ashe Central area, a tree top broke loose and got tangled in power lines along US Hwy 221N. Linemen responded to repair damage that affected 568 members from 9:07 a.m. to 9:44 a.m., with the remaining 25 members affected restored by 10:46 a.m. There were 57 members affected from 5:22 to 9:28 a.m. when wind damage affected power lines And 47 members were affected from 9:34 to 10:34 a.m., again from wind damage to power lines.
Approximately 70 other members were affected by scattered outages across the county throughout the day and evening on Monday, all resulting from high winds affecting power lines or blowing trees or tree limbs into the power lines.
Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation was monitoring severe winter weather scheduled to hit the foothills Wednesday night and affecting the cooperative’s mountain district service area. Employees were on high alert and ready to respond should an outage occur.
If members experience an outage, please call the cooperative’s Powerline at 1-800-448-2383 at any time.
On Wednesday, line technicians topped off fuel supplies, performed checks on safety equipment and chains for trucks as well as other supplies such as chain saws that are sometimes needed to remove trees and limbs from power lines or to provide road access to reach outage locations.
For severe weather preparedness tips or to view Blue Ridge Electric’s live outage map, visit www.BlueRidgeEMC.com. Updates and information can also be found on Blue Ridge Electric’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/blueridgeemc.
Blue Ridge Electric serves some 73,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, and Alleghany counties as well as parts of Wilkes, Alexander and Avery counties.