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Duke Energy projects 1 million outages across Carolinas due to ice storm

Hundreds of linemen will be in the Greensboro area, ready to work when the lights go out.

GREENSBORO, N.C. —    

Duke Energy is projecting nearly one million power outages across the Carolinas on Thursday due to the ice storm, and the company says some of those outages could last for several days. 

Around 1,200 linemen, some coming from as far as Florida, will be in the Triad. These crews are in addition to the 300 linemen that were already in the Greensboro area when lights went out Saturday during that ice storm. Duke Energy restored 300,000 outages across the state, the bulk of them coming from Guilford County and surrounding areas.

"This was a historic storm this past weekend, in many respects one of the worst ice storms our crews have worked in this area in many years, and now you put another storm on the heels of that, the crews have gotten at most a day's rest today and then they’ll be back at it tomorrow," said Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks.

Duke Energy says ice buildup of a quarter-inch or more is usually the threshold amount that causes trees and branches to fall, and subsequently power outages. The WFMY News 2 Weather Team anticipates a quarter-inch to a half-inch of ice for much of the Triad area, and around or north of I-40. 

Duke Energy says customers should prepare now. 

"This will be a multi-day restoration and it will be a challenging one given the conditions," Brooks explained. "I wish I had better news but that’s what the forecast looks like and I would love to be wrong but I think we’re looking at a very significant storm that’s going to impact much of the state."

 Here are some tips provided by the company for winter weather outages.  

Customers should prepare 

Duke Energy urges customers to have a plan in place now, in the event they experience an extended power outage.

With temperatures forecasted to be below freezing Friday and Saturday in many areas of both states, Duke Energy said customers should consider alternative locations for family members who are elderly or who have special medical needs, if outages are extended.

Tips to help you and your family stay safe

  • 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, water, non-perishable foods, blankets, travel bags and other supplies that might be hard to find after a storm strikes. Your emergency kit should also include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, bar or liquid soap, and face coverings aligned with CDC guidance. 
  • 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 storms to stay connected to important safety and response information. Consider purchasing portable chargers and make sure they are fully charged as well.
  • Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all lines energized as well as trees or limbs in contact with lines. Please report downed power lines to Duke Energy.
  • 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.
  • If you use a generator due to a power outage, follow the manufacturer's instructions to ensure safe and proper operation. Operate your generator outside. Never operate it inside a building or garage.

Reporting outages and receiving updates

Before a storm hits, customers can sign up to receive outage alerts, and ensure contact information is current and communication preferences specified. Throughout the storm, the company will also provide updates to customers via email, phone, text and the website.

Customers who experience a power outage can report it the following ways:

  • Visit duke-energy.com on a desktop computer or mobile device.
  • Use the Duke Energy mobile app – download the Duke Energy App from a smartphone via Apple Store or Google Play.
  • Text OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply).
  • Call Duke Energy’s automated outage-reporting system:
  • Duke Energy Carolinas: 1-800-POWERON (1-800-769-3766)
  • Duke Energy Progress: 800.419.6356