Icy weather can pose extra concerns — and while no fatalities resulted from this area’s latest brush with Old Man Winter, it did cause problems including no electrical service in Dobson during the Super Bowl.
A weekend ice storm that coated trees and power lines led to outages Sunday for more than 2,000 customers of Duke Energy in the Dobson area also forced the Surry County Jail to rely on an emergency power source.
“We had a backup generator that kept the building in operation,” Chief Deputy Lauren Osborne said Monday regarding the situation that affected all of Dobson.
Other than a little less light than usual, the jail was maintained, Osborne added. “We were still able to function — there were no facility or security issues due to the power outage.”
“What happened over there was two transformers were affected in their substation,” Surry Emergency Services Director John Shelton said of problems with Duke Energy facilities in the county seat which were weather-related. A utility pole reportedly was knocked over and blew out circuits.
The electrical service in the Dobson area went out at 12:20 p.m. Sunday. “They had the power back on at 10 p.m.,” Shelton said of work by Duke Energy personnel to restore coverage by the end of the day, although the outage occurred during the time the Super Bowl was being played. The game started around 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
“The power company was really good to communicate back and forth with us,” Shelton said regarding extra efforts it mounted.
Tough on trees
The potential for an array of problems always exists with freezing rain or sleet and the icy conditions left behind, which in Sunday’s case resulted in about 30 trees reported down.
“We had a lot of trees down on the roadways and across power lines and things like that with the ice hanging on them,” Shelton said of the weather-related problems that started emerging about 10:30 a.m. Sunday. “Of course, we had a lot of power outages.”
In addition to the more than 2,000 Duke Energy customers who lost service in the Dobson area, the local electric cooperative, Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership, had 1,000 or more of its customers affected.
There also were scattered outages elsewhere across the county which “were corrected fairly quickly,” the emergency services director said.
Meanwhile, travel conditions also were impacted by the weekend storm, which resulted in .85 inches of precipitation being logged at F.G. Doggett Water Plant in Mount Airy, the city’s official weather-monitoring station.
About seven accidents were processed through the Surry 911 center, with others reported directly to the N.C. Highway Patrol.
“Mostly what we were dealing with on roads was ice slush from freezing rain,” Shelton said.
The local public safety official pointed out the problems were somewhat limited due to the fact the weather event occurred during a weekend rather than a regular work day with more vehicular traffic involved.
“Most people stayed home — a lot of restaurants closed early,” Shelton said.
“It could have been a lot worse.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.