The bitterly cold arctic air will spend another day with us in the Lake Norman area, pushing temperatures down again overnight and creating heavy electricity demand that is bringing power outages across the region. The weather has authorities calling for conservation and prompted Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools to announce a delay for a second day Wednesday.
The National Weather Service said overnight lows early Wednesday could be around 12 degrees in the Lake Norman area, after plummeting to 9 degrees early Tuesday.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools announced at mid-afternoon that schools will open 2 hours late again Wednesday.
“Opening schools on the delayed schedule today (Tuesday) allowed transportation and maintenance staff time to prepare buses and facilities before school started,” Superintendent Heath E. Morrison said.
The school system said before- and after- school enrichment programs will begin at the normal times and breakfast will be served. Dismissal will not change, and after activities also will operate on a normal schedule.
COLD WEATHER WARNINGS
The National Weather service said the arctic air mass that settled over the region early Tuesday would remain for another day, “and will threaten both health and property.” Temperatures are running about 17 degrees below normal.
Wind in parts of the North Carolina mountains is producing bitter cold, with the wind-chill factor Tuesday afternoon between 5 and 15 degrees below zero.
Officials said the cold weather has boosted demand for electricity throughout the region.
“Power outages may result from high demand today and tonight,” the weather service said Tuesday. “Those who require electricity for heating or medical equipment should consider backup heat sources or electrical sources.”
Duke Energy reported that customer set a new record Tuesday, using more energy than any previous winter day, and warned of outages.
“While all available generating units are operating, customers could still experience power outages. This occurs because extremely heavy demand causes some equipment to break or overload a circuit. When that happens, a fuse or circuit breaker operates in the substation, just like it would in your home.”
As of early Tuesday afternoon, electricity had been restored to more than 100,000 customers in the Carolinas – and the company was continuing repairs as new outages occurred.
The utility asked customers to conserve power through at least Wednesday morning, as the record low temperatures continue.
The utility offered these tips in an alert:
- To save energy and money, select the lowest comfortable thermostat setting when home, and bump the thermostat down a degree or two when leaving home.
- Turn off lights and unplug appliances.
- Use ceiling fans in a clockwise direction to push warm air back down into the room.
- Leave your drapes or blinds open to allow the sun’s rays to warm the house.
- Make sure your heating system is operating efficiently by changing air filters regularly. A dirty air filter makes a heating system work harder, which uses more energy.
Find more tips at www.duke-energy.com. Click on the “save energy and money” link.
Gas service also is affected by high demand. “This morning our gas was not working at full capacity in Oakhurst and the gas company said they are unable to keep up with supply and demand during the frigid temps,” Marian Collier said in an email to CorneliusNews.net.