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TECO sending 130-person support crew to North Carolina ahead of winter storm

Downed trees and power lines are expected in the wake of the weekend storm.

TAMPA, Fla. — With the threat of severe winter weather looming across the Carolinas, a company of Tampa Bay utility workers is at the ready.

About 130 people from Tampa Electric are on the way to Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, to assist Dominion Energy crews with expected power outages later this weekend, according to a news release.

Its forecast ice and snow — perhaps measured in feet across higher mountain elevations — will move across parts of the region, especially during the day Sunday. Dominion reports it's expecting widespread outages.

Forty line workers, damage assessors and support staff left the Tampa area Friday morning to begin the two-day drive, TECO said. About 80 tree trimming contractors left, as well, in support of Duke Energy.

COVID protocols are in mind for everyone involved, according to the utility.

"The crews will be using appropriate pandemic protocols, such as one person in each truck, checking their temperature and properly disinfecting tools and other surfaces," the release states. "Meals will be individually boxed, and crews will practice social distancing."

Everyone is expected to remain in the Carolinas for about two weeks.