Parts of WNC may remain without power until the weekend

A press release from Duke Energy reports that almost 20,000 customers in the six western counties are without power as of 2 p.m. Thursday, June 16, and about 6,700 of those customers in Swain County may not have their electricity service restored until Sunday night, June 19.

The power outages are a result of an intense thunderstorm with high winds that hit the area Wednesday evening. Falling limbs and trees broke down lines and poles. Hardest hit are the Bryson City, Cherokee, Cullowhee and Sylva areas of Swain and Jackson counties.

The storm caused about 26,000 power outages, the most since Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.  (Hurricane Ivan knocked off 31,720 customers overnight on Sept. 16-17, 2004.)

Here is Duke’s estimate of when power will be restored, though the power company says it hopes to beat its estimates:

• Cherokee County
138 without power
Estimated restoration: 11 p.m. Friday, June 17

• Graham
1,215 without power
Estimated restoration: 5 p.m.  Saturday, June 18

• Jackson
9,592 without power
Estimated restoration, Cashiers: 11 p.m. Thursday, June 16
Estimated restoration, rest of Jackson County: 11 p.m. Sunday, June 19

• Macon
2,141 without power
Estimated restoration: 11 p.m. Friday, June 17

• Swain
6,775 without power
Estimated restoration: 11 p.m. Sunday, June 19

Total: 19,861


Outage statistics by county are available at the Duke website,

Duke hydroelectric generating reservoirs are currently are handling the runoff. Lake levels are at:

So far 570 individual sites with damage have been identified.  While damage assessment is ongoing, scouting teams have reported more than 50 broken poles.

The first wave of over 400 additional Duke crews and contractors from Hickory, Greensboro, and Charlotte areas have begun work in the area.

Duke Energy’s Nantahala Area is a rugged mountain area of 1,729 square miles with about 75,000 customers. They are in Cherokee, Graham, Jackson, Macon, and Swain counties. Customers in these counties include the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, located mostly in Jackson and Swain counties.

Protect appliances by turning off lights and as many appliances and electronics as possible – including heating or air conditioning systems — while the power is out. This will help prevent circuit overload situations when power is restored. You will also reduce the potential for damage to sensitive equipment such as computers, microwave ovens, televisions and recording devices.

Call 800.769.3766 to report a power outage

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