Weather News

Hurricane Dorian could knock out power to 700,000 in Carolinas, Duke Energy warns

Duke Energy is flagging residents early for possible power outages once Dorian strikes the North and South Carolina coastlines — and it’s no small number.

The energy company predicts more than 700,000 outages are possible on Thursday and Friday before the Category 2 hurricane clears the Carolinas. Some could last several days.

“This slow-moving, powerful storm will bring hurricane- and tropical-storm-force winds, and rain, over a large area of our coastal, Pee Dee and Triangle regions,” Duke Energy meteorology director Nick Keener said in a statement Wednesday.

In addition to coastal communities, Duke said outages are likely in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, Williamsburg and “communities up to 100 miles inland.”

The latest updates from the National Hurricane Center predict Dorian will hit the Carolinas late Wednesday and early Thursday with 105 mph winds and up to 15 inches of rain.

Dorian was still lugging up the eastern seaboard at a pace of 9 mph on Wednesday afternoon, according to the NHC.

Charlotte-based Duke is ramping up its response force before the storm, tacking on 4,000 repair workers from 23 states and Canada to an existing crew of 5,000 lineworkers and tree personnel in the Carolinas.

Assessing the damage may delay repairs, according to the energy company, which can take more than 24 hours.

“Crews will restore power, where possible, while completing damage assessment,” Duke said in the statement.

In the meantime, Duke warned residents to follow updates from the NHC and state and local officials during and after the storm. The company also issued a list of safety precautions, including to steer clear of “fallen or sagging power lines.”

“Consider all power lines – as well as trees, limbs or anything in contact with power lines – energized and dangerous,” Duke said.

If a line falls on a car while someone is inside, the company said the person should exit immediately.

“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,” according to the statement.

Duke said residents should keep an emergency supply kit on hand as well as extra copies of insurance policies, a supply of water and nonperishable food and a portable television or radio.

The company also advised charging electronic devices beforehand as well as buying a portable charger.

A backup location may also be necessary if power outages remain in effect, Duke said. The company will be posting storm and power restoration updates on Twitter and Facebook.

Important Numbers

To report hazardous power lines, call 800-769-3766 (Duke Energy Carolinas customers) or 800-419-6356 (Duke Energy Progress customers.).

To report power outages, visit or text “OUT” to 57801. Residents can also call 800-769-3766 (Duke Energy Carolinas customers) or 800-419-6356 (Duke Energy Progress customers).

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Hayley is a Real Time reporter at The Charlotte Observer covering breaking news and trending stories in the Carolinas. She also created the Observer’s unofficial bird beat (est. 2015) with a summer full of ornithological-related content, including a story about Barred Owls in love.