Waynesville gears up to provide around-the-clock storm services
The town of Waynesville has begun operating 12-hour continuous shifts to better respond to residents needs as a major storm moves into the area.
Waynesville Town Manager Marcy Onieal said all the public works staff, from the water/sewer crew to the street crew to the parks and recreation maintenance staff, will be working 12-hour shifts until the storm aftermath is cleaned up.
Onieal said the town isn't expecting any major power outages based on what they are hearing from their supplier, Duke Energy.
"They have told us this will be a snow event for our area," Onieal said, "so we don't anticipate anything out of the ordinary as far as outages. A tree may fall down here and there, but that happens anyway, so we'll respond to that as usual."
In part of the region where an ice storm is predicted, outages are expected to be more significant, said Jennifer Jabon, a spokesperson for Duke Energy.
"We have a detailed storm response plan and are encouraging customers to be prepared for outages," Jabon said. "We expect a heavy accumulation of heavy, wet snow across the Carolinas and have about 3,400 field workers available to respond quickly."
Outages where the largest number of customers are impacted will be repaired first, she said. Those who experience problems can call 1-800-769-3766 or report an outage online at duke-energy.com/storms. At the website, the number of outages across the Duke service area will be available.
Onieal said Waynesville residents don't generally have prolonged power outages as crews are available to respond to downed lines quickly, and it is rare that a large transmission line, such as the one Duke has into the community, goes down.
Crews are using salt on the streets sparingly because of the national salt shortage, Onieal said.
"We're looking at this as a plowable event," she said, noting the town has contracted with owners of five motor graders to work clearing streets during the storm. The use of 12-hour continuous shifts should quickly address problems.
"Having worked in other small towns, I've found the only way to provide really good service is to put everyone on clearing the streets. We've got different equipment for different areas of town and the contract crews on motor graders will maintain the thoroughfares and high traffic areas."
For the administrative level and public works employees who live outside the town limits, arrangements have been made for them to have accommodations in town, and meals will be brought in.
Those who have service requests can call the town police department's nonemergency number at 456-5363, or anyone with urgent town business that can't wait until after the storm can contact Onieal at 454-8890.