Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Duke  Estimates Hurricane Michael Could Cause 100,000 and 200,000 Power Outages in Florida

Storm Tips & Safety Reminders

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Based on Hurricane Michael’s current forecasted track, Duke Energy Florida projects 100,000 to 200,000 power outages in the northern part of its service area on the Florida Panhandle.

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

Duke Energy anticipates significant, widespread power outages, particularly along the coastline of the company’s service area due to storm surge.

Historical data and company experience indicate complete restoration from a storm of this magnitude could take multiple days to over a week – depending on the extent of actual damage, crews’ ability to access remote areas and islands, and conditions following the storm, such as flooding.

Duke Energy has mobilized more than 7,000 personnel, prepared to work around the clock to restore customers’ power.

Crews from Duke Energy’s Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky operations will assist – as will workers from other utility companies based in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Illinois, Texas and Missouri.

Restoring power after a storm can be extremely challenging for repair crews, as travel and work conditions can be impacted by high winds and widespread flooding – making repair work lengthy and difficult.

Before power can be restored, crews first must assess the extent of damage – which can take 24 hours or more – to determine which crews, equipment and supplies are needed before repairs can begin.

Duke Energy urges those in the projected path of the storm to pay close attention to information and advice from state and local emergency management officials.

Important reminders: 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 cell phones, 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 number 1-800-228-8485 for Duke or call 911.

• 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.

A "Hurricane Kit Checklist," and important safety information is here. In addition, tips on what to do before, during and after a storm can be found at Duke Energy's website. A checklist serves as a helpful guide, but it's critical before, during and after a storm to follow the instructions and warnings of emergency management officials in your area.

Click here for a video demonstration and to read more about safety around power lines.

High-water safety reminders

• People who live along lakes and rivers, and in other low-lying areas or areas prone to flooding, should pay close attention to local emergency management officials, national weather service and media for changing weather conditions and rising lake and river levels.

• High water conditions can create navigational hazards and the public should use caution and adhere to the advice of local emergency management officials before going on area lakes or rivers.

• Members of the public who have electrical service to facilities (piers, outside lighting on seawalls, etc.) on or near water, should have this service de-energized to avoid injuries and equipment damage.

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