Power outages likely in Florida Panhandle
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- As forecasts increasingly predict that Hurricane Michael will impact Florida, Duke Energy is preparing for the storm and urges customers to do the same.
Hurricane Michael is forecasted to be a category 3 at landfall with 120 mph winds, life-threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall.
Duke Energy expects damage to its infrastructure which might result in extended power outages as the storm continues to strengthen and heads closer to Florida. The Florida governor has declared a state of emergency in advance of the hurricane.
"Hurricane Michael is intensifying and poses a significant threat to the Florida Panhandle and will affect west central Florida," said Duke Energy senior meteorologist Max Thompson. "Some of our most populated service areas, such as Pinellas and Pasco counties, might experience tropical storm-force winds and experience outages. We join state officials in asking everyone to take this storm seriously.
"Duke Energy customers in the projected path of this storm could see impacts and should make plans now to prepare their homes and families. We also ask our customers for their patience as outages are expected, and might take time to restore." Thompson said.
Duke Energy has a detailed storm response plan in place.
In advance of the hurricane, Duke Energy is moving power utility crews and resources so they are pre-staged and ready to help 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.
Restoring power after a 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 bulk 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 are 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 number 800.228.8485.
- 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 800.228.8485.
For storm or power restoration updates, follow Duke Energy on Twitter (@DukeEnergy) and Facebook (Duke Energy).
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 who have electrical service to facilities (piers, outside lighting on seawalls, etc.) on or near water, should have this service de-energized to avoid injuries and equipment damage.
Duke Energy Florida
Duke Energy Florida owns and operates a diverse generation mix, including natural gas, coal and renewables, providing about 9,300 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.8 million customers in a 13,000-square-mile service area.
Duke Energy Florida is a subsidiary of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK).
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy 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.
Contact: Ana Gibbs
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