Expect power outages that could last for days, Duke Energy says as winter storm threatens Piedmont Triad

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Will the lights and the heat stay on this weekend? That’s the question on everyone’s mind.

Thousands were without power for days the last time a winter storm slammed the Triad. Utility crew leaders say they’ve learned some lessons, and they are ready to respond.

Ice and strong winds pose a threat that could bring down trees and knock out power. A Duke Energy representative says it takes only a quarter of an inch of ice to bring down a tree. Winds can also increase the risk.

During the last storm, crews cut back limbs and leaning trees that they thought could pose a problem the next time around.

Despite their preparation, Duke Energy does expect outages. While the average repair time is three to five hours for an outage, the company says to expect to be without power for days.

“If you rely on electricity for medical needs, you need to be figuring out what your alternate plan is now, because if you need to relocate and the roads are icy that becomes a challenge,” said Jeff Brooks, spokesperson for Duke Energy.

When the wind dies down on Sunday, Duke Energy crews are planning to be up in the lines working on repairs.

Duke Energy’s regional crews are fully staffed, and they’re bringing in an additional 600 workers from the Midwest and Florida, as well as 1,000 more contractors. Those crews will start arriving in the Triad on Saturday.

The company is planning to stage most of those crews at the Koury Convention Center by the Four Seasons Town Centre in Greensboro.

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