HICKORY, N.C. -- Power crews from across the state are working overtime to restore power to the more than 22,000 North Carolinians still in the dark after Monday’s severe weather.
Crews from Greensboro told NBC Charlotte they’ll be working 16-hour shifts to replace hundreds of power poles and re-hang power lines, most of which were brought down by trees toppling over.
“It’s been terrible,” said Chealssea Queen, whose family lives in Hickory and has been without power since Monday.
“The storm was scary, I mean it’s just been a stressful situation, and you know, you worry about your food in your refrigerator and freezer and it’s just stressful,” Queen said.
Wednesday, Queen’s family was one of the lucky few to find a generator. Queen said her uncle tried Lowe's and Home Depot but everybody was out. She says he then had luck at the local garden store.
“About 20 minutes before he called, they got five in and there was only one left,” she said.
Duke Energy’s website says power to parts of Hickory, located in Catawba County, should be restored by 11:45 a.m. Thursday.
Meteorologists with the National Weather Service from Greer, S.C. were also in western North Carolina Wednesday to survey the damage.
“There’s pretty widespread damage and some of it is just trying to figure out what was a tornado and what was the peripheral effects outside the official effects of the tornado where trees are falling down,” said Meteorologist-In-Charge Steve Wilkinson.
Wilkinson said it’s still too early to tell but the damage seen at the Hickory Regional Airport is consistent with that of a tornado and he estimates that the wind speed was similar to the tornado that touched down earlier in the evening in Spartanburg, S.C.
“About 120 to 125 mph at its peak doesn’t mean it was all that strong, but at its peak,” saying, “It was coming up through Rutherford County, Cleveland County, Lincoln County into these counties here.”
Wilkinson says tornadic activity isn’t unheard of in October, but it certainly isn’t common.
“You don’t think of Oct as your typical tornado season, but here we go, we had it. So anytime you hear a tornado watch or warning, you need to listen and find a safe place,” said Wilkinson.
Wilkinson says the National Weather Service hopes to release a report of their findings this week.