Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, ‘significant power outages’ possible Sunday night into Monday across Piedmont Triad

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Scattered severe thunderstorms will be possible late Sunday night into early Monday morning.

The threat is greatest between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. Monday. We could easily see storms much earlier than that, but the threat is highest during that time. 

These storms will bring wind gusts reaching between 35 and 50 mph. The most intense storms will be capable of producing damaging wind gusts in excess of 60 or 70 mph and also isolated tornadoes. 

Severe weather warnings will most likely be issued late Sunday night into Monday morning.

Governor Roy Cooper is urging North Carolinians to be prepared for severe weather and the possibility of power outages overnight and into Monday afternoon as a strong cold front moves across the state. 

“North Carolinians are already following Stay At Home orders for the coronavirus, and now it’s also important to prepare for strong storms and possible power outages,” Governor Cooper said. “Be sure to follow weather conditions closely on Sunday and Monday, and have a way to receive severe weather warnings.”

You can prepare for power outages by having flashlights with fresh batteries handy, charging cell phones, having a cooler ready and knowing how to report an outage to your power company.

If Your Power Goes Out

  • Report your outage immediately to your local electric company. Don’t rely on your neighbors to report your outage.
  • Stay away from downed power lines, flooded areas and debris. Treat all fallen wires and anything touching them as though they are energized. Immediately report downed lines to your local electric company.
  • Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed. Food will stay frozen for 36 to 48 hours in a fully loaded freezer if you keep the door closed. A half-full freezer will generally keep food frozen for 24 hours. 
  • Pack refrigerated items, such as milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.
  • Follow safe operating procedures for generators. Never operate one inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • If using portable stoves, kerosene heaters, or lanterns, make sure that the area is sufficiently ventilated.

Officials with Duke Energy also released a statement, urging people to prepare for a “strong potential for power outages” as a storm is set to bring high winds on Sunday and Monday.

The full statement from Duke Energy is provided below:

“A strong weather event will push through North Carolina and South Carolina beginning Sunday afternoon and continuing into Monday, bringing with it high winds and a strong potential for power outages.

Duke Energy is monitoring the storm’s path and taking steps to prepare, while also continuing to adhere to coronavirus-related protective measures and social distancing guidelines in place for power line crews and tree crews, and other employees supporting the storm response effort.

“We know how important electricity is to customers at a time when so many are home all day, every day,” said Duke Energy Carolinas storm director Jason Hollifield. “Add to that, this is an important holiday weekend and sacred time for many people. We will work to respond to power outages as quickly as they occur, recognizing we must also ensure the safety of our crews and the communities we serve through proper social distancing practices and other protective measures. We appreciate our customers’ patience and support as we work to serve all of our customers in the Carolinas.”

Important safety reminders

With high winds, come the threat of downed trees and, potentially, downed power lines. We encourage customers to plan now for what they will do if they experience an extended power outage:

  • Customers should stay tuned to local news for the latest weather advisories, as well as state and local emergency management officials.
     
  • If you rely on electricity for medical needs, please consider now what actions you will take in the event of an extended power outage. With statewide “stay-at-home” orders in place, you may need to alter your emergency plans.
     
  • If you see a downed power line, always assume it is energized and stay away. Report downed lines to Duke Energy immediately. Click here for a video demonstration and to read more about safety around power lines.
     
  • Never bring a generator indoors. Generators should be operated only outdoors, and only in well-ventilated areas. Manufacturer instructions should be followed. 

Duke Energy protective measures

We are working hard to help ensure you have reliable power during this challenging time and will work to restore any outages that occur from this storm as quickly and safely as possible. We are focused on helping protect our employees, contractors and the communities we serve.

  • Please avoid approaching Duke Energy crews in the field or entering their work zone as they restore power. If you do need to speak with someone, be advised that employees will maintain at least six feet of separation.
     
  • Please adhere to stay-at-home orders and help our crews avoid distraction by supporting social distancing guidelines as they work.
     
  • If it is necessary to leave home, customers should move over or slow down if they see utility crews or other first responders working along roads. It’s not only the law, but also helps protect our crews who are working to help restore power to customers.
     
  • Additionally, employees do not travel, climb or work when sustained winds reach 39 miles per hour. When the storm passes and wind speeds drop below 39 miles per hour making it safe for travel, crews will begin damage assessment and repairs.

Tips for protecting refrigerated food during a power outage

We know that many customers may have stored up their refrigerators and freezers as part of their stay-at-home plans. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends the following tips:

  • Have appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer. The freezer temperature should be at or below 0° F, and the refrigerator should be at or below 40° F.
     
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
     
  • The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
     
  • A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
     
  • Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerated food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours.

The FDA offers additional tips for proper food handling and storage before, during and after a power outage – https://www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/food-and-water-safety-during-power-outages-and-floods

Outage reporting

Customers who experience an outage during the storm can report it by:

  • Visiting duke-energy.com on a desktop computer or mobile device
     
  • Texting OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply)
     
  • Calling the automated outage-reporting system at 800-769-3766 for Duke Energy Carolinas customers and 800-419-6356 for Duke Energy Progress customers.

For storm or power restoration updates, follow Duke Energy on Twitter and Facebook.”

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