Many North Carolinians are healing from their last winter weather round right now, and others still haven’t. More than 100,000 power outages have affected most of the state this week, along with numerous types of storm destruction, and another, even greater, round of ice and rain on Thursday could cause more power losses.
Duke Energy estimates that, as a result of the hurricane, the Carolinas could see up to a million power outages, with several outages lasting several days. In order to deal with the anticipated service interruptions, more than 1,300 Duke Energy workers have moved in from other regions of the country.
Tips to stay safe during the winter weather
Power outages can be extremely challenging and risky. If the power goes out and you need to stay warm, here are some quick tips:
- To retain heat, keep the blinds and curtains closed
- Plug into the wall your space heaters, NOT into a power strip.
- Shut the doors and stuff your towels under the doors.
- As food can warm the body and avoid alcohol, be sure to eat
- Wear layers and loose-fitting clothes and bundle blankets together
Durham County and Orange County prep for the ice
Durham and Orange Counties expect the ice storm to have moderate effects. Crews with Durham Emergency Management were bringing roads and salting bridges in anticipation of what could be a hazardous situation on Wednesday afternoon. They have doubled their staff as well.
James Groves, Durham’s director of emergency services, told WRAL that damage and power outages were caused by previous ice storms. But, they are as organized as they can be, if required, to respond.
“If something bad does happen, we have what we call cut and push taskforces, and that’s when we cut trees [and] push them out of the way so emergency vehicles can get back-and-forth.”
The Severe Weather Team of WRAL says Durham can expect moderate impacts from this ice storm event to be seen. That means, along with one to three inches of rainfall, up to 1/4 of an inch of ice.
“Today specifically, we have been hosting coordination meetings with our entire city and county department management staff, our emergency responders including the hospitals, the universities, anything with emergency services,” Groves said. “Our crews and DOT are up brining the roadways. They’ll do that through this evening. Salt is being aggregated and being put on the bridges to make sure that’s taking place right now as well.”
Officials in Orange County are urging individuals, especially in the northern part of the county, to ready their emergency kits for potential extended power outages.
Emergency responders say it is not wise to get out on the highways early tomorrow morning. Not only can ice trigger you to lose your vehicle’s balance, but it can also take longer for teams to come and assist.
“Have a communication plan with your family,” Groves said. “Check on your friends and neighbors when something like this happens. Especially if it’s a prolonged power outage. Make sure that your phone battery stays charged overnight.”