Triad braces for more ice Thursday as many in Rockingham County remain without power after Saturday’s ice storm

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Some parts of the Piedmont Triad are still waiting for their power to come back on after Saturday’s ice storm as another threatens to strike on Thursday.

According to FOX8 Meteorologist Emily Byrd, a Winter Storm Watch will go into effect at midnight Thursday and run until midnight Friday.

“This is for the probability of some ice that could accrue once again on elevated services and in the tree tops and on power lines,” she said.

The Triad could see about 1/4 inch of ice with area closer to the Virginia border seeing as much as a 1/2 inch. Areas south of the Triad are expected to see much less, possibly 1/10 of an inch.

“It looks a lot like the last ice storm, doesn’t it?” Byrd said. “The thing that’s working for us, number one, Mother Nature has sort of thinned out those weakest trees. The problem is there is still one little issue with the ground being so saturated and additional rainfall means some root structures will be a little bit tougher to manage if we have heavy ice on those trees, especially pine trees.”

Fortunately, after Thursday, we’re expected much better weather. The sun will be coming out for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and highs will rain above freezing in the 40s.

This second round of wintry weather is unwelcome news for the many who are still waiting for lights to come back on after Saturday’s ice storm.

Over the weekend, ice brought down trees, snapping utility poles and pulling down power lines. 

The damage resulted in hundreds of outages, leaving thousands in the dark. Days later, Mother Nature still hasn’t let up. 

“These guys are wired for this. This is what they do, but even the veterans say this is a pretty harsh storm environment to work in,” said Jeff Brooks, a spokesperson for Duke Energy. 

When the elements don’t cooperate, it slows down Duke Energy’s ability to restore power. 

“The weather has certainly impacted our response and not just the temperatures, which are brutal in a lot of cases when you have 16-hour days, in this we have to make sure we keep our crews safe, but also just the wet ground and condition make the work very difficult,” said Brooks. 

Pamela Watkins experienced the dicey conditions on her drive home. 

“I don’t know how many linemen working in the rain, and it wasn’t just a little rain it was coming down pretty good on Gibbs Rd. and when I went by, I said, ‘Lord, please protect them,’” said Watkins. 

Several neighbors on Watkins’ street bought generators, but Donna Olivo has been relying on her wood stove. The problem is she didn’t plan for a multi-day outage. 

“We would have a day or two, and that’s the most. That’s why my stack of wood was dry for a day. Not dry anymore,” said Olivio. 

She and everyone else are ready to crank the heat. 

“We are freezing. We need heat and power. We are praying for them though, take care of our guys, get it back on,” said Olivio. 

According to the N.C Department of Public Safety, more than 1,800 people were still without power in Rockingham County as of about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Duke Energy estimates that power could return to the county by 10 p.m. Tuesday.

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