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Sat March 8, 2014
'Thank God for Gas, Generators & Headlights' - Guilford County Residents Struggle Without Power
Thousands of people in Guilford County are still without power because of Friday morning's storm. The county is one of the hardest hit areas in the state. Duke Energy is working through the weekend to restore power, but officials estimate that some areas could be without electricity until Sunday.
Like many residents, Sheila Thrower of Pleasant Garden had a hard time finding a gas station in her community. That's because no power means no gas .
"We had some gas but not enough to run the generator for an estimated power outage of two days. We called gas stations and were told they were open, so we headed out," Thrower said "Trees are down and it took three of us to move one limb at a time to get out."
As Thrower and her family made their way around the county looking for an open gas station, she saw first hand the damage from the storm. "So many trees are coated with ice throughout the county. It was scary driving under the 'widow maker'. I was afraid we would run out of gas because we have four wheel drive," said Thrower.
It is cash only at many of the gas stations who don't have power. Thrower said despite the road conditions, there is a lot of traffic on the roads in Guilford County.
"We headed north got on Interstate-40, exited on South Elm. Murphy's was accepting cash only for store purchases only. The employees were in the dark, using a calculator," said Thrower. "We headed towards Walmart , but it was closed. Lowe's was running on generators, but still no gas."
Several accidents have been reported in the Triad because of the wintry mix that blanketed the Triad. Thrower said neighbors are helping neighbors cleanup the mess left behind by Mother Nature.
"We came home and borrowed gas from neighbor. I called a friend who lives up by the airport. She looked on line at gas buddy app and told us who had power and fuel. So we drove about 22 miles, spent $100.00 on 5. 5 gallon containers. We also refilled our neighbors can too," said Thrower.
Thrower said what usually is a 15 to 20 minute commute took a few hours. "We finally made it home at 4:45 p.m. We dodged trees, flooded roads, and cars stuck in slush".
As of early Saturday morning, more than 120,000 customers are without power. Guilford County has declared a State of Emergency because of the winter storm.
Meanwhile, N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory also has declared a state of emergency. The action enables the governor to mobilize more resources to respond to a storm. It also allows the state to seek federal funds to help pay for providing emergency services, clearing debris and repairing any damaged public infrastructure.