Duke Energy predicts Carolinas could see 1 million power outages

Posted February 17, 2021 8:33 p.m. EST
Updated February 18, 2021 3:53 a.m. EST

— Many North Carolinians are just now recovering from our last round of winter weather, and some still haven't.

More than 100,000 power outages, along with various forms of storm damage, have plagued much of the state this week, and another, even bigger, round of ice and rain on Thursday could cause more to lose power.

Power outage potential for Feb. 18, 2021

Duke Energy predicts the Carolinas could see up to a million power outages as a result of the storm, with some outages lasting several days. More than 1,300 Duke Energy employees have come in from other parts of the country to help with the expected interruptions in service.

Tips to stay safe during the winter weather

Power outages can be extremely difficult and dangerous. Here's some quick tips if the power does go out and you need to stay warm:

♦ Keep the blinds and curtains closed to preserve heat

♦ Plug your space heaters into the wall, NOT into a power strip.

♦ Shut your doors and stuff towels underneath doors

♦ Be sure to eat as food can warm the body, and avoid alcohol

♦ Wear layers and loose-fitting clothing and bundle up with blankets

Durham County and Orange County prep for the ice

Durham and Orange Counties are expecting moderate impacts from the ice storm.

Crews with Durham Emergency Management were brining roads and salting bridges Wednesday afternoon in anticipation of what could be a dangerous situation. They have also doubled their staff.

Weight of ice impacts

James Groves, Durham’s emergency services director, told WRAL previous ice storms have caused damage and power outages. But, they are as prepared as they can be, to respond when necessary.

“If something bad does happen, we have what we call cut and push taskforces, and that’s when we cut trees [and] push them out of the way so emergency vehicles can get back-and-forth.”

WRAL’s Severe Weather Team says Durham can expect to see moderate impacts from this ice storm event. Which means up to 1/4 of an inch of ice, along with one to three inches of rainfall.

“Today specifically, we have been hosting coordination meetings with our entire city and county department management staff, our emergency responders including the hospitals, the universities, anything with emergency services," Groves said. “Our crews and DOT are up brining the roadways. They’ll do that through this evening. Salt is being aggregated and being put on the bridges to make sure that’s taking place right now as well.”

Officials in Orange County are encouraging people to prepare their emergency kits for possible extended power outages, especially in the northern part of the county.

Emergency responders say getting out on the roads early tomorrow morning is not smart. Not only could ice cause you to lose control of your vehicle, but it may also take longer for crews to be able to come and help.

“Have a communication plan with your family," Groves said. "Check on your friends and neighbors when something like this happens. Especially if it’s a prolonged power outage. Make sure that you your phone battery stays charged overnight."

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