FIRST ON WITN: Major Power Outage In Kinston

Power is gradually being restored to Kinston residents after a major power outage shortly after 6:00 a.m.

At the height of the outage, 8-thousand homes and businesses, or 75% of the city was in the dark.

Public Services Director Rhonda Barwick says a jumper failed near the Hull road substation, causing damage to spread out onto a distribution line into the system. Rouse Road was closed as crews worked to fix the damage.

Barwick says by 7:00 a.m. all but a thousand customers were back on, while by noon only the Caswell Research Center was without power.

Power went out to thousands of people as temperatures reached 18° in the city. Some people reported seeing multiple blue flashes before the power went out. Some lights then dimmed, before finally going out.

At the intersection of West Vernon Avenue and Hull Road this morning, traffic lights remain out while in front of the fire station on Hull Road crews are working to repair a downed line.

Residents of the city are no strangers to losing power. Back in October half of the city was put in the dark when a lightning storm knocked out six of the city's eight substations. Then during Hurricane Irene the entire city was without power, which took days to restore.

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Power went out for a significant part of Kinston in Lenoir County on one of the coldest mornings of the year.

The outage appeared to extend from Vernon Ave. north. Residents lost power around 6:10 a.m. A blue flash was reported before the lights went out.

Law enforcement scanners reported a transformer on Herritage St. blew.

We're told downtown Kinston currently has power.

Parrott Academy had called in a two hour delay, but now says the power is back on there. They are going to start on time.

A resident on the northwest side of Kinston called WITN at 7:15 a.m. and reported their power had just been restored.

Mayor BJ Murphy "tweeted" WITN's Heather King that "most have their power on now. No official word yet." We will continue to keep you posted on this breaking news.

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