Duke Energy projects winter storm could cause more than 500,000 power outages

Duke Energy expects significant power outages because of the upcoming winter storm.

"Duke Energy meteorologists today modeled the latest forecast for an approaching winter storm and project the heavy wet snow, sleet and freezing rain will result in approximately 500,000 power outages or more for homes and businesses in the Carolinas," the company said in a news release Friday.

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, the company said.

Most of Saturday will just be cloudy.

There is a chance we could see some light rain perhaps mixing with a little snow across the southern Piedmont. But this shouldn’t be a big deal.

The big deal starts around midnight with snow. For the Triad, the snow will continue until about 4 p.m. Sunday. After 4 p.m. Sunday, the Triad snow will begin to mix with and change to sleet and freezing rain. Across the Virginia border counties, mountains and foothills, there’s a chance they could remain all snow, especially the mountains.

The precipitation should begin to stop between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Sunday. Overnight Sunday into Monday, there’s a chance we could see a light wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain. But most of the precipitation will fall on Sunday.

The Piedmont could see six to 12 inches of snow. Over a foot of snow is possible across the mountains and foothills.

Ice could be a problem across the southern Piedmont.

Duke Energy typically requires 12-24 hours to fully assess damage from a significant weather event, even while simultaneously restoring power, the company said.

Duke Energy has more than 8,700 line and tree workers, damage assessors and support personnel ready to respond.

The company said 800 line workers and 150 tree workers are coming in from other states. They are staging at the Koury Convention Center by Saturday afternoon.