10/29/2020 5:38:00 AM Weather Update Updated with wind info and power outages
Wayne Howard News Journalist
Our area is under a Tropical Storm Warning through Thursday. Tropical storm Zeta, the remnants of Hurricane Zeta, will be passing to the west of us and as the day progresses, extreme windy conditions are likely.
Because of the storm and expected wind, several area school districts have called off on-campus school for students for Thursday. Lincoln County Schools, Gaston County Schools, Catawba County Schools, Cleveland County Schools, Newton-Conover City Schools & Hickory City Schools will all have a remote learning day. Gaston County Schools have asked that staff report to work one hour early. Lincoln Charter School will also have a remote learning only day. There will be no in person instruction. All athletics are cancelled for today. Staff will be working remotely as well.
In making the announcement via a telephone message to parents Wednesday evening, Lincoln County School Interim Supt. Dr. Aaron Allen added that there would also not be any after-school care at the YMCA on Thursday. Lincoln County Schools employees who cannot work remotely can report on a 3-hr delay, but that may not be necessary--the worst of the winds will be later in the morning.
Winds, which at 6 AM were out of the southwest at only about 7-10 mph pickedd up as the morning progressed. At 9 AM, the wind was blowing steadily at 15 mph in Gastonia and Lincolnton with gusts of 25 mph. In Hickory, the southwesterly wind was 20 mph with gusts of 40 mph. The highest gusts (as of 10:30 AM) had been 37 mph in Lincolnton, 35 mph in Gastonia, 47 mph Charlotte, 53 mph in Hickory). In the late morning to early afternoon hours, sustained winds of 25-35 mph are possible, with gusts possibly as high as 39-57 mph. The winds will likely cause some downed trees and limbs and could result in power outages.
This isn't Hugo! Zeta is a quick-moving storm; it will be gone by Thursday night. There may be some rain, but not a tremendous amount in our area. The mountains will get much more rain; east of us, there won't be much rain, but the winds in this storm are on the east side and that's the concern for us. Most of the heavy rain in the mountains had ended by mid-morning and most of the rain that was expected to fall had already happened in the Piedmont.
Duke Energy reports multiple outages including one involving over a thousand customers between Lincolnton & Maiden and another with over a thousand customers just south of Hickory. Another large outage is between Shelby & Kings Mountain. One just east of Cherryville involves over 300 customers, and one just east of Fallston is almost that large. One just north of Lincolnton involved over 125 customers. Another in eastern Catawba County also had over a thousand customers without power. Another just southwest of Lincolnton was reported about 9:30. The totals by county are estimated at six thousand for Lincoln County, three thousand for Gaston, two thousand for Cleveland and 14 thousand for Catawba. Duke is aware of most of the major outages and is working to restore power, but the high winds are making it difficult. Conditions are expected to improve by this afternoon which should help get power restored.
REMC reports (at 9 AM) 651 in Lincoln County (updated to 1386 at 9:30 AM but reduced to 953 by 10:15), 1822 in Gaston (updated to 2159 at 9:30 and 2848 at 10:15), 999 in Cleveland County (updated to 1373 at 10:15), and 125 in Catawba (updated to 327 at 9:30 and 691 at 10:15).
There have been several outages in the city of Lincolnton, but crews are busy working, so we haven't been able to get any specific information on locations.
This weekend, the weather will turn much colder and we could see the first freeze in our area Monday night. Here's the forecast:
Tropical storm conditions possible. Showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 2 pm, then showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly between 2 and 3 pm. High near 80. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible. Winds increasing in the late morning and early afternoon hours. Sustained winds of 25-35 mph are possible with stronger gusts. The storm may produce a tornado or tornadic winds in the afternoon.
A chance of showers and thunderstorms before midnight, then a slight chance of showers between midnight and 1am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 53. Southwest wind 6 to 16 mph becoming northwest after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 23 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Sunny, with a high near 65. Northwest wind 6 to 11 mph.
Clear, with a low around 39. North wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.
Patchy frost before 8 am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 59.
Partly cloudy, with a low around 42.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 66.
Clear, with a low around 34, possibly dipping to freezing in some areas.