Storm knocked out power, another round on the way Friday

Home News Storm knocked out power, another round on the way Friday
Storm knocked out power, another round on the way Friday
[Photo: Crews worked to clean up after the storm Sunday. (Photo by Ken MacDonald)]
By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Another round of winter weather is on the horizon for Hoke County this coming weekend, after the first storm this past Sunday iced up trees and roads. 
The winter storm didn’t deliver any snow to speak of as it arrived in Hoke County early Sunday, but the freezing rain and wind gusts it brought led to power outages for many people.

Thousands of households were left in the cold and dark after the storm moved through. Duke Energy and Lumbee River Electric Membership Corp. maps showed the largest local outages in the Raeford and Ashley Heights areas, with scattered outages in Antioch and Rockfish.

Ice up to a quarter-inch thick coated power lines and tree limbs. Despite the efforts of power line workers, hundreds in Hoke County were still without electricity into Monday afternoon. Broken tree branches appeared to be the cause of most of the outages, according to Duke Energy’s map.

The temperature began to creep slightly above freezing later in the evening Sunday, after the rain stopped. While some spots in shady areas were still slick and icy early Monday, Hoke’s roads were mostly clear by noon.

The situation was worse in neighboring Moore County, where roads were still sketchy a day after the storm. Outage maps showed thousands of residents there were still without power. At the height of the outages, over 17,000 households in Moore County were in the dark.

The storm fell on what is typically a long weekend for many people. Public schools, government offices and some businesses were already closed Monday for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Hoke County Schools also had a scheduled teacher workday set for Tuesday, with students returning to class Wednesday.  

Aside from the power outages – and debris on roads from broken tree branches – the county didn’t see any serious damage or other issues from the storm, Andrew Jacobs of Hoke Emergency Management said. However, the office is keeping an eye on another round of winter weather just on the horizon.

Forecasts from the National Weather Service in Raleigh warned of another system likely to bring freezing Arctic air to the state this coming weekend. The forecast is still changing day to day, but some weather models predicted a chance for frozen precipitation for the Sandhills. Whether that’s snow or sleet, and how much and where it will fall will depend on what happens between now and then.

By Wednesday, the National Weather Service had placed Hoke and much of the surrounding area under a winter storm watch. State emergency management urged residents to prepare for another round of potential power outages and slick roads.

Temperatures are expected to drop this coming weekend. Highs in the 30s, and lows in the 20s or even teens are possible into early next week, according to the forecast. 

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