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Winter Wonderland Not Exactly Silent

The sounds of breaking tree branches echoed throughout much of North Carolina as an ice storm pummeled the state, and Mike Fey, for one, didn't get much sleep.

"You would hear loud cracks here and there, and you knew what it was," Fey said.

His ranch-style home in Charlotte had tree limbs atop it, and an oak tree leaned against its roof.

As he spoke, a large branch in the distance fell with a pop.

"That's pretty much what you heard all last night," he said.

The cacophony continued even as the ice and sleet changed to rain, because temperatures didn't rise enough to melt the ice on trees and bushes.

Dan Drum picked up small limbs as he walked his dog, saying he was stunned by the tree damage.

"I see as much damage as Hurricane Hugo, and I remember that vividly," he said. "Thank goodness we have power."

In Raleigh, Galen Daves looked over a 100-foot oak tree that had toppled onto the corner of his neighbor's house but caused no apparent damage.

Daves looked at the bright side, saying, "That's good firewood."

Michael Kirk, a 20-year-old junior at North Carolina State University, got an unexpected day off when the school shut down, and he and his three roommates played pingpong and stayed near the fireplace.

But Kirk was cutting short the fun and scraping off his Chevrolet Silverado pickup to drive 30 miles west to Hillsborough to help his father cut fallen trees on the family farm.