‘We are freezing’; Families in Rockingham County endure days without power after ice storm

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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. — Weather conditions are not helping crews restore power in Rockingham County. 

It’s been bitterly cold and raining off and on since Saturday’s ice storm, but bucket trucks delivered a glimmer of hope to homeowners in Reidsville who have been without power for three days. 

“There goes a truck right now. I hope you’ve got it fixed is all I got to say,” said Donna Olivio. 

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. 

Duke Energy’s outage map estimates power in Rockingham County will be fully restored by 9 p.m. on Tuesday. 

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