If lived in the North Carolina Piedmont including areas around Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte fifteen years ago, there is a very good chance you were sitting in the dark. An ice storm that lasted from December 4 through 5, 2002 crippled much of the region with up to an inch of ice accumulation.
An inch of ice may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind ice does not accumulate as much as snow does. Downed trees and power lines often begin to occur with around a quarter of inch of ice.
In a recent look back at the December 2002 ice storm, the State Climate Office called it "an ice storm for the ages." Over half of Duke Energy's customers in North and South Carolina lost power. There were more outages in both states than during Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
It took up to ten days for power to be restored across the central Carolinas.
According to the report from the State Climate Office, a nine year old boy was killed in a fire caused by a space heater after the storm. Another 200 people were hospitalized by carbon monoxide poisoning from poor ventilation of alternative heat sources like kereosene and gas-powered heaters.
The North Carolina Insurance News Service estimated property damage from the ice storm at $113 million.
Read more about the December 2002: