Wednesday winds take out power for 1,250 in Polk

Published 2:51 pm Thursday, December 8, 2011

Map showing the drought levels of North Carolina counties, as reported by the U.S. Drought Monitor. The darker shade is moderate drought, the lighter shade is abnormally dry and the unshaded areas are currently experiencing no drought condidtions. The southeastern section of Polk County is in the moderate drought category, with the rest either abnormally dry or not experiencing drought.

Area still in moderate drought

Jack Frost took his first nip at the area Wednesday, Dec. 7 as a storm brought rapidly dropping temperatures and high winds that caused power outages for about 1,250 Polk County residents.

Polk County topped Duke Energy’s outage list in both North and South Carolina for the most power outages throughout the night. The peak of Polk’s outages was at 12:15 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 8, when 1,251 residences were without power, according to Duke Energy data. By 2 a.m., Polk County had 1,049 still without power.

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Duke Energy crews worked through the night to restore power in Polk, and no outages were reported in North or South Carolina as of 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 8.

The temperatures dropped quickly as a cold front came through the area late afternoon on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Temperatures dropped from 50 degrees at 5 p.m. to 39 degrees at 10 p.m. and as low as 28 degrees at 6 a.m. The county was also under a lake wind advisory, with winds reaching 15 mph, according to information on

By sunrise, temperatures began to rise, with the temperature back up to 32 degrees by 8 a.m. and 47 degrees by 11 a.m. The high for Thursday, Dec. 8 was estimated to be 61 degrees.

This week has also seen unusually high rains that began Monday, Dec. 5. So far in December, Tryon has received 2.94 inches, which has come in only four days of rain. Rain totals for November were 6.05 inches and only 2.71 in October, according to the Tryon Water Plant Observation Center. The average precipitation for the area in December is 5.21 inches.

On Dec. 1, the area received 0.02 inches of rain, while most of the almost 3 inches for the month came this week on Dec. 5, 6 and 7. Tryon received 0.61 inches of rain on Monday, Dec. 5, 1.9 inches on Tuesday, Dec. 6 and 0.41 inches on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Despite recent heavy rains, Polk County is still listed as one of seven counties in North Carolina classified by the U.S. Drought Monitor as having moderate drought conditions.

Polk joins Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland, Harnett and Sampson in the moderate drought category, which is the highest level of drought identified in the state as of yesterday, Dec. 8. North Carolina has 22 other counties categorized as “abnormally dry,” while the rest of the state’s counties are listed in normal conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor of North Carolina.

Temperatures are expected to continue to be cooler this week and next, with lows in the high 20s and highs in the low 50s. More rain is expected to reach the area by mid-week.

Local Weather Extremes

Month RecordHigh RecordLow GreatestMonthlyPrecipitation
January 80° -8° 10.31″
February 81° 11.29″
March 87° 11° 15.43″
April 93° 26° 11.95″
May 98° 30° 13.98″
June 105° 41° 13.21″
July 104° 49° 9.60″
August 101° 48° 14.24″
September 103° 35° 16.45″
October 96° 25° 13.50″
November 85° 14° 7.94″
December 80° 11.72″


Weather to remember

January 21, 1985 – Polk County’s record low of -8 degrees occurred.
June 22, 1964 – Polk County’s record high of 105 degrees occurred.

August 27, 1995 – Record daily rainfall for Polk County, 7.15 inches.
December 4, 1971 – Record snowfall for Polk County, 18 inches.

July 16, 1916 – The Great WNC Flood changed the shape of the land in many of the river bottoms and valleys in Polk County and the surrounding western mountain counties.

March 1960 – It snowed the first, second and third Wednesdays in the month.

March 13, 1993 – WNC Blizzard occurred in the region. Polk County landowners lost hundreds of trees and most of the county’s homes and business were without power for 4 or more days.

February 2, 1996 – The City of Saluda had a devastating ice storm. Saluda homeowners lost dozens of trees and residents went nearly a week without power. Duke Power Company had 650,000 power outages (2nd largest in company’s history).

– source: The late Robert Dedmondt, former official weather observer; compiled by John Vining, Polk County Cooperative Extension Director