My Turn: Being proactive and organized ahead of severe weather - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My Turn: Being proactive and organized ahead of severe weather

It's been our practice after we experience a big weather event at WECT to hold a meeting to discuss what we did right and to determine what we can do better. Many of you help us with that process by providing us feedback.

With this latest winter storm, I'm finding myself hopeful that New Hanover County government does the same thing. I think the county's response to this latest event was disappointing.

With the most power outages of any area in the state, it surprised me that the county made such a late call to open a shelter for vulnerable people without power. The surrounding counties were on top of it hours earlier.

If it weren't so serious, it would be funny that their first decision was to open the shelter a full day later, which would have been about 24 hours after people started losing power.

Luckily, it appears the folks at New Hanover Regional Hospital stepped in and convinced the county to do the right thing by opening a shelter on Wednesday night. And the second shelter couldn't open at all…the generator wasn't working.

There's always going to be debate about the role of government in our lives, but I think we can all agree that in times of crisis, we need it to be proactive and organized. In this case, it was not.

That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at


Emailed comments from viewers:

Citizens expect and deserve pro active leadership in times of crisis!!! Thank you for speaking for the many New Hanover County citizens. We did not lose power, but Thousands did.....




I appreciate having the information that is provided for the communities during this recent comment is this...Why don't the electric companies and coop's consider putting the power lines makes no sense having people without power, or having to transfer those in assisted living to other places much less their having flashlights and extra blankets...downed trees taking their toll on power lines would no longer be a problem...I and husband have been blessed in that we haven't had to suffer this kind of thing except during hurricane season and that just amazes me this is the norm when it doesn't need to be.


This storm has been a bad one for sure, no power and tree limbs down everywhere!!  I just happen to have lost power around 12:20pm on feb 12 due to a limb falling on the lines to my house, it was a fun looking light show when it happened right down to the people of my neighborhood crossing the line in the street that may or may not have been live at the time.  I informed duke energy of the fact that it was laying in the road and was told that they would be out whenever they could, the fire department also called them to in form them of the fact that it may or may not be live as did the sheriffs department.  The only action we got from them was to have an employee of theirs ride out and look at the pole, take down a few numbers and leave. since then my wife and I have been called three times since then to see if the power had been restored.  Now common sense would dictate that if the crews that were fixing the same problem a few miles away have not been to my house to fix the problem that would mean it was not fixed, also the fact that several crews have been by the lines that are down without even slowing down would mean the same.  Also during this time I have been told several different things as to when we would get power, first it was "as soon as we can get to it, your area is a mess right now", then it was " there is a main line down up the street, just as soon as we get a crew freed up in Hampstead or the main line gets repaired, yours will be repaired next"  the main line got repaired at 9 pm that night we still have no power, after that I was contacted and asked if I had power, when I replied no but here's the problem I was told" we should have you back up in a couple of hours, we are on the way."  Well " a couple of hours later" my wife was informed that power will absolutely be restored by 11:30 pm on feb 15.  I do understand that this is a mess and they are working diligently to restore every ones power in a safe manner,what I do not understand is why I keep hearing a different story on when I can expect power to be restored to my poor dark and cold house, the truth from the start would be the best way to do that but at this point I would be shocked to hear that from them.


I had to drive both Wednesday and Thursday thru Wilmington and observed many traffic signals out,some at major intersections. I did not see one police officer direct traffic at any location even at the very busiest it was left to the individual drivers This in a town where it is not unusual to see three or four patrol cars respond to a fender.Then again it would require them to get out of their cars.


Mr. McNair, you always have such wonderful ideas, after the fact.   Why don't you suggest them to whomever, before the fact:). Was just wondering:)


Well said Gary, plus the lack of comments from city leaders prior/after this event wasn't laughable either.


I was frustrated by the lack of helpful information communicated to us by Duke/Progress. During storms I have always been able to get useful information. This time no projections at all and when it was provided it was general and the same for all areas which isn't realistic and left me feeling trapped and helpless.


My wife and I both want to thank you for your refreshing and matter of fact views.  Your voice of reason is spot on.  Keep up the good work.


Amazing the selfishness of comments relating to power outages I see here. Something taken for granted that once you cannot lazily flip a switch and have at the ready, you complain it was not restored fast enough. Sometimes damage from storms is more difficult to repair, especially in harsh conditions and removing obstacles, than was first initially realized. Anyone who has weathered hurricanes here knows that.

There was also much comment and complaint about the federally mandated tree trimming around power lines that Duke Progress had been REQUIRED to accomplish over the last few years. Imagine the impact this storm COULD have had if not for the proactive trimming that occurred.

Thank you to the linemen and women that worked in poor conditions to restore my power. I am grateful for your dedication and hard work under difficult circumstances.


There is no doubt that the Power Companies were faced with an extremely difficult task to restore electricity to their customers. However, being told by their  ( Duke Progress Energy) representatives "You should have a generator" or "you are just one customer" was not a good response to request to have power restored.  I, like others would love to have funds to purchase a generator and I am not so stupid as not to know that I am only one customer. However, when power is restored to the front of a subdivison and their truck leaves the area without restoring power to the remainder of the subdivision when an easy fix is obviously right in front of them just does not make common sense.

 I witnessed this also in attempting to have power restored at my work place. When the necessary problems had been resloved that made restoring power to my work place a simple and not a very time consuming fix, the trucks left the area.I received numerous phone calls asking why we were not open yet? The answer "no power". Perhaps since Duke Progress Energy representatives recommend generators, Duke Progress Energy should have generators available to keep their customers going in a time of crisis. After all, if it were not for each and every one of their customers paying for their service, from whence would their profit and CEO salaries come? The linemen and crew that work to restore power are to be commended for their efforts. However, they can only work at the sites to which they are assigned. Two hundred yards from my home a neighbor that is fortunate enough to be a customer of Brunswick Electric never lost power. What a superior job has been done by Brunswick Electric in maintaing their lines and equipment.  It is a shame that consumers are not able to choose their power company provider without moving from their homes and to another location.

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