Hurricane Michael could cause 300,000 to 500,000 power outages in the Carolinas, Duke Energy says

Duke Energy projects Hurricane Michael could cause 300,000 to 500,000 power outages in North Carolina and South Carolina this week, based on the storm's current forecasted track.

Officials said complete power restoration from a storm of this magnitude could take several days.

The power outage projections are based on the company's storm modeling tool, which analyzes variables including storm magnitude and track, wind speed, size of the wind field and ground saturation.

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Before power can be restored, workers first must conduct a damage assessment--which can take 24 hours or more--to determine which crews, equipment and supplies are needed before repairs can begin.

That assessment will determine where the company will deploy its workers, equipment and other resources.

Duke Energy officials said 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 numbers:
    Duke Energy Carolinas customers - 800.769.3766
    Duke Energy Progress customers - 800.419.6356

  • 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.
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