CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Officials at Duke Energy, the primary power provider for most of the Carolinas, are warning customers to prepare for power outages to happen during a potential ice storm that is forecast to unfold over the weekend.
The company said the storm could cause an estimated 750,000 customers to lose power in North Carolina and South Carolina.
Ice accumulation is possible by Sunday night from northeast Georgia through the Carolinas up to south-central Virginia. The highest accumulation is likely near the North Carolina/South Carolina line just to the east of Charlotte, where as much as a half-inch of ice is possible.
Outside the accumulating ice, heavy snow is possible across the mountainous regions of western North Carolina and the Upstate of South Carolina.
According to Duke Energy officials, power outages typically occur when there is more than six inches of wet snow or a quarter-inch of ice accumulation on trees.
Duke Energy officials said they have staged more than 10,000 workers – power line technicians, damage assessors and vegetation workers – across the Carolinas. About 4,100 of those workers are from other companies, some based in Texas and Oklahoma. The workers also include Duke Energy crews normally based in Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky who have traveled to the Carolinas to assist.
"Customers need to be prepared for a wintry mix that will bring with it the potential to cause outages in our service area," said Jason Hollifield, Duke Energy Carolinas storm director. "Across the Carolinas, we have power line and tree crews, and other storm personnel, ready to safely respond to power outages this weekend."
How you can prepare
People living in the region should prepare for power outages by ensuring they have an adequate supply of non-perishable food and water that can last a few days. Keep batteries handy for things like flashlights and battery-operated TVs and radios.
Keep mobile devices charged so they will last for a while if the power goes out. Power banks should also be fully charged. A solar charger might come in handy in the event of a power outage.
Travel will become nearly impossible once the storm hits, so make sure to refill necessary prescriptions now so you don’t run out during the storm.
Don’t forget about pets. Make sure you have an adequate supply of food and water for them, as well.