Charlotte-based Duke Energy said it is monitoring and preparing for a winter weather system that may cause power outages across the Carolinas this holiday weekend.
Duke Energy said its meteorologists are tracking a significant winter weather event expected to move through North and South Carolina on Friday morning, bringing wind gusts up to 55 mph and below-freezing temperatures.
Conditions like these also bring a higher risk of widespread power outages across the region, company officials said.
"While there is never a good time to be without power, we recognize that the possibility of outages over the holidays is particularly worrisome for the customers and communities we serve," said Jason Hollifield, Carolinas storm director.
"Our crews are prepared and will work as quickly and safely as possible to restore power when outages occur."
High winds and saturated ground may lead to downed trees, limbs and power lines. The winds can also impede Duke Energy workers' ability to assess storm damage and restore power, and any outages that occur early Friday could linger into the evening as high wind gusts are forecast throughout the day.
Duke Energy said it encourages customers to have a plan in place to respond to an extended power outage after severe weather. Some tips.
Before the storm
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, nonperishable foods and other supplies that might be hard to find after a storm hits.
Keep a portable radio or TV or a 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.
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 should arrange to stay at evacuation shelters that accept pets; friends' or family members' homes; or pet-friendly hotels.
After the storm
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.
If a power line falls across a car that you are 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 who experience an outage during a storm 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 the automated outage-reporting system, at: 800.POWERON (800.769.3766).