Officials: Wednesday weather may be repeat of 2002 ice storm - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Officials: Wednesday weather may be repeat of 2002 ice storm

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
In December of 2002, Charlotte fell victim to an unforgiving ice storm. 285,000 people lost power and most of those people were in the dark for a week. 12 years later, city officials say that ice storm bares the closest resemblance to what Charlotte can expect Wednesday. 

"The people that were here in 2002 when we had the snow and the ice storm... you can relate it to that," said the City's emergency manager Jeff Dulin. "This is more related to that because the ice is coming in after the snow and the weight on the power lines and trees is going to be much greater."

A 24-hour emergency plan is now in effect across Charlotte. City officials are prepping for the worst as they say another round of snow, sleet and possibly freezing rain is in the forecast. 

In early December 2002 cars skid across streets, power poles snapped in half and ice caked sidewalks.

"The impact of this storm is much greater than just the snow," said Dulin.

Ice is the wildcard.

"This is an emergency event," said city manager Ron Carlee during a press conference at the Government Center, Tuesday.

"We are expecting heavy accumulations of snow, heavy sleet and freezing rain," said Carlee. "We have the possibility of power outages and perhaps even a crippling ice storm."

Carlee crafted a warning that had 2002 written all over it.

Back then, the vice president of Duke Energy called the storm the worst in company history. 
285,000 people were without power in Charlotte in the storm's icy aftermath. That number of people is only a fraction of the 1.8 million in the dark across the Carolinas that week.

The Associated Press compared the destruction to that of a hurricane.

Carlee believes the amount of preparation that has gone into this event will pay off. However, he is still warning the public to be prepared.

"Travel will be treacherous," exclaimed Carlee, who said if you don't have to drive on the roads it's best to say at home.

The main event gets underway during the morning hours Wednesday and accumulations will be between three and six inches in the Charlotte area and even higher amounts north of the city into the foothills and mountains, where 6 - 12 inches of snow is expected. 

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