Widespread power outages likely in North Carolina and South Carolina – lasting multiple days to weeks
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As forecasts increasingly predict that Hurricane Florence is expected to significantly impact North Carolina and South Carolina, Duke Energy is preparing for the storm and urges customers to do the same.
The company expects widespread damage and power outages as Hurricane Florence is forecasted to be a large and extremely dangerous storm system, packing fierce winds and torrential rainfall.
Historical data and company experience indicate that total power restoration from a storm of this magnitude could take multiple days to several weeks – depending on the extent of damage and post-storm conditions, such as ongoing high winds and severe flooding, after the storm passes though the region.
"Hurricane Florence continues to strengthen and poses a significant threat to the Carolinas, possibly surpassing the damage seen from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 because of the potential for inland hurricane-force winds and a substantial amount of rainfall," said Duke Energy senior meteorologist Max Thompson.
"All Duke Energy customers in the Carolinas could see impacts from this storm and should make plans now to prepare their homes and families. We join state officials in asking everyone to take this storm seriously. We also ask our customers for their patience ahead of what will be a lengthy period of power restoration and recovery from this major storm," Thompson said.
The governors of North Carolina and South Carolina have declared states of emergency in advance of the hurricane.
Duke Energy has a detailed storm response plan in place.
In advance of the hurricane, Duke Energy is moving power restoration crews from its Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Florida utilities so that they are staged in the Carolinas and ready to help the company's Carolinas-based crews restore power as soon as it is safe to do so.
In addition, line technicians and workers are checking equipment, supplies and inventories to ensure adequate materials are available to make repairs and restore power outages.
The company also is working with the Southeastern Electric Exchange to secure additional crews from other energy companies to assist.
Restoring power after a massive storm can be extremely challenging for utility repair crews, as travel and work conditions can be impacted by high winds and widespread flooding – making repair work lengthy and difficult.
Before power can be restored, crews first must assess the extent of damage – which can take 24 hours or more – to determine which crews, equipment and supplies will be needed before repairs can begin.
The following tips can help you and your family stay safe if the power goes out:
- Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all lines energized as well as trees, limbs or anything in contact with lines.
- Create (or update) an emergency supply kit to save valuable time later. The kit should include everything an individual or family would need for at least two weeks, especially medicines and other supplies that might be hard to find after a storm strikes.
- Maintain a supply of water and non-perishable food.
- Keep a portable radio or TV, or NOAA weather radio on hand to monitor weather forecasts and important information from state and local officials.
- Charge cellphones, computers and other electronic devices in advance of the storm to stay connected to important safety and response information. Consider purchasing portable chargers and make sure they are fully charged as well.
- Maintain a plan to move family members – especially those with special needs – to a safe, alternative location in case an extended power outage occurs or evacuation is required.
- Pet owners can make arrangements to stay at evacuation shelters that accept pets, friends' or family members' homes, or pet-friendly hotels.
- Review insurance policies, and include extra copies of the policies and other important documents in your emergency supply kit (ideally in a waterproof container).
- Report all power line hazards using the following phone numbers:
- Duke Energy Carolinas customers – 800.769.3766
- Duke Energy Progress customers – 800.419.6356
- If a power line falls across a car that you're in, stay in the car. If you MUST get out of the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
Customers should stay tuned to local news for the latest advisories from the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center (NHC), as well as state and local emergency management officials.
For a "Hurricane Kit Checklist," and important safety information visit www.ready.gov. In addition, tips on what to do before, during and after a storm can be found at www.duke-energy.com/safety-and-preparedness/storm-safety. A checklist serves as a helpful guide, but it's critical before, during and after a storm to follow the instructions and warnings of emergency management officials in your area.
Click here for a video demonstration and to read more about safety around power lines.
Before the storm hits, customers should note how to report power outages. Customers who experience an outage during the storm can report it by:
- Visiting duke-energy.com on a desktop computer or mobile device.
- Texting OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply).
- Calling the automated outage-reporting system at 800-769-3766 for Duke Energy Carolinas customers and 800-419-6356 for Duke Energy Progress customers.
For storm or power restoration updates, follow Duke Energy on Twitter (@DukeEnergy) and Facebook (Duke Energy).
In anticipation of the forecast of potential significant rainfall from Hurricane Florence, Duke Energy continues to lower lake levels by moving water along all river basins and operating our available hydro units.
The designs of the company's dams and current water levels determine the best way to move water at any given time.
If we receive significant rainfall, lake levels will rise much more quickly due to runoff.
High-water safety reminders
- People who live along lakes and rivers, and in other low-lying areas or areas prone to flooding, should pay close attention to local emergency management officials, national weather service and media for changing weather conditions and rising lake and river levels.
- High water conditions can create navigational hazards and the public should use caution and adhere to the advice of local emergency management officials before going on area lakes or rivers.
- Members of the public that have electrical service to facilities (piers, outside lighting on seawalls, etc.) on or near the water, should have a qualified electrical contractor de-energize this service to avoid injuries and equipment damage.
- For updated lake level information, go to duke-energy.com/community/lakes or call Duke Energy's Lake Neighbor Information line at 800-829-Lake (5253).
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S., with approximately 29,000 employees and a generating capacity of 49,500 megawatts. The company is transforming its customers' experience, modernizing its energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding its natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves.
The company's Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit serves approximately 7.6 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. Its Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to approximately 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. Its Commercial Renewables unit operates a growing renewable energy portfolio across the U.S.
A Fortune 125 company, Duke Energy was named to Fortune's 2018 "World's Most Admired Companies" list and Forbes' 2018 "America's Best Employers" list.
More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center includes news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy's illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.