Finishing touches

A contractor hired by Duke Energy prepares to de-energize a power line on Hicksboro Road near Henderson on Tuesday so it can repair damaged lines nearby. The power company said its repairs following last weekend’s ice storm would likely be finished Tuesday night.

HENDERSON — The cleanup from last weekend’s ice storm continued on Tuesday, and officials were optimistic that Duke Energy would complete the job of restoring power to those who lost it during the storm.

In Vance County, “right before lunch they were down to less than 300 people out,” said Brian Short, the county’s director of emergency operations.

As of about 4 p.m., Duke was reporting that there were only 72 customers still without power, and it estimated that it would complete repairs by 10 p.m.

There were only two customers without power in Warren County, the remaining trouble spot in the Tri-County being Granville County, where Duke said 1,011 customers had yet to see their electricity come back on.

Most of the problems in Granville were in the N.C. 96 corridor, but even there, Duke was predicting the power would be back on by 10 p.m.

But even as crews from the utility and its contractors were putting the finishing touches on their local response to the weekend storm, officials began warning that a second round is on the way.

The National Weather Service put Vance, Granville and Warren counties on another winter storm watch, and said areas north of Interstate 85 could expect another quarter-inch of overnight icefall between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

The “highest amounts of freezing rain are expected” in an area that includes Forsyth, Guilford, northern Alamance, northern Orange, Person, northern Granville, northern Vance, and northwest Warren counties, the weather service said.

That translates into more power outages and slippery roads, and any “trees that were weakened by last week’s storm will likely come down with this storm,” forecasters said.

All told, a large portion of central North Carolina can expect 1 to 3 inches of rain or its “combined liquid equivalent” by Friday morning as the latest storm system passes through.

Short, however, was optimistic that things might not be as bad the second time around.

“What got us so bad was that we didn’t see the melting we thought the day before the main storm hit,” he said, referring to last weekend’s ice storm. “It got so warm [on Tuesday] that everything that comes from the event Wednesday is going to be from that event. There’s not going to be anything residential that it’s adding to.”

Short hasn’t seen an official estimate of how much ice fell on the area last weekend, but he believes it was “at least” a quarter-inch based on what he saw on the branches near his office.

Contact Ray Gronberg at rgronberg@hendersondispatch.com or by phone at 252-436-2850.

Contact Ray Gronberg at rgronberg@hendersondispatch.com or by phone at 252-436-2850.