(FOX Carolina) - Duke Energy is warning customers to prepare for outages that may last for days ahead of the winter storm.
The utility company is expecting more than 500,000 outages in the Carolinas.
Duke said they have more than 8,700 workers are ready to respond once conditions are safe.
Duke said more than six inches of snow or a quarter of an inch of ice accumulation will cause branches to sag and trees to fall, bringing power lines down with them.
Car crashes can further increase the risk of power outages.
Duke said they expect widespread, multiple-day power outages in the Mountains and portions of Upstate.
Duke Energy also issued these safety instructions:
- If you plan to 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.
- Don’t use grills or other outdoor appliances or equipment indoors for space heating or cooking, as these devices may omit carbon monoxide.
- Check and restock your emergency kits with flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods, medicines, etc. Also, ensure a portable, battery-operated radio, TV or NOAA radio is on hand.
- 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 are driving and encounter emergency responders or other roadside work crews, remember to MOVE OVER, it's the law in North Carolina and South Carolina, and a good practice for all drivers.
Information on reporting outages
Customers who experience an outage during the storm have multiple ways on how to report it:
- Text OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply)
- Call the automated outage-reporting system at 800.POWERON for Duke Energy Carolinas customers and 800-419-6356 for Duke Energy Progress customers.
- Report an outage or view current outages online at www.dukeenergyupdates.com