AVERY COUNTY, N.C. – Thousands of people in Avery County were without power as dangerously cold temperatures tighten their grip on the Carolinas.

According to Mountain Electric Cooperative, approximately 4,000 people, from Linville to Jonas Ridge, lost power Thursday evening.

RELATED: School delays and closings

Mountain Electric officials have not provided an estimated time for the power to be restored or announced what caused the outage in the first place.

Temperatures in Avery County are in the single digits with wind chills dipping well below zero during the evening and overnight hours. In neighboring Watauga County, temperatures in Boone from December 31 through Thursday have been part of the coldest stretch on record with average high of just 16 degrees.

Schools in several districts, including Avery County will be closed Friday due to the extreme temperatures facing the region.