Duke Energy customers urged to prepare: Widespread power outages likely in North Carolina – lasting multiple days to weeks

Duke Energy customers urged to prepare: Widespread power outages likely in North Carolina – lasting multiple days to weeks

As Hurricane Florence continues to pick up speed and strength, Duke Energy is preparing for the storm and encouraging customers to do the same. The storm is expected to re-strengthen to a Category 4 over the next 24-36 hours. Forecasters tracking the storm are divided in their predictions about where it will actually make landfall. After the storm comes ashore, it will move towards the eastern and central parts of the state, bringing with it high winds and torrential rains.

Based on this forecast, Duke Energy is expecting widespread damage and power outages that could last multiple days or weeks. While we are bringing in thousands of additional resources from the Midwest and Florida, high winds could impede the company’s ability to raise up bucket trucks or fly helicopters to assess damage. (winds need to be below 30 miles per hour) Flooding may exacerbate and further impede restoration as well. Attached is an overview describing our restoration process.

Elder care

Duke Energy is committed to providing safe, reliable service; however, during severe-weather events, we cannot guarantee customers a constant supply of electricity or priority treatment.

All customers should prepare for an extended power outage. Nursing homes and special-care facilities need to take the necessary actions to ensure the safety of their patients in the event they are without power.

We work very closely with state and local emergency managers to identify and restore these facilities as quickly as possible. However, these facilities need to be prepared and consider alternate arrangements if they experience an extended outage.

Lodging needed for crews

Duke Energy is looking for approximately 5,000 hotel beds to house power restoration crews coming to the region to assist with storm restoration. There is a significant shortage of hotel rooms due to coastal evacuations. We anticipate many festivals and local events around the state will be canceled due to the weather. Our request is that you accelerate your decision to postpone or cancel these events to free up hotel rooms for power restoration crews. We are hoping that decisions will be made as soon as possible so we can begin deploying crews near areas of expected significant damage.

Important reminders

The following tips can help you and your family stay safe if severe weather strikes and the power goes out:

  • 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 nonperishable food.

  • Review insurance policies, and include extra copies of the policies and other important documents in your emergency supply kit (ideally in a waterproof container).

  • 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.

  • 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.

Report all power line hazards using the following phone numbers:

Duke Energy Progress customers – 800.419.6356

Text OUT to 57801

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.

For a "Hurricane Kit Checklist" and important safety information, please 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.

Outage reporting and status updates

At any time, customers can report power outages by:

Visiting duke-energy.com/outages 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 800.419.6356 for Duke Energy Progress customers

For storm or power restoration updates, follow Duke Energy on Twitter (@DukeEnergy) and Facebook (Duke Energy).

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Emergency shelters in area (UPDATED 9:37 pm)

Emergency shelters in area (UPDATED 9:37 pm)

Residents make preparations as Hurricane Florence gets closer

Residents make preparations as Hurricane Florence gets closer