Wherever Hurricane Dorian hits, Duke Energy stands ready to respond.
The utility company announced Tuesday that it was positioning an extra 4,000 workers in North Carolina in anticipation of the storm’s possible landfall in the Tarheel State. The workers hail from 23 states and Canada and are in addition to 5,000 personnel Duke Energy has stationed in the region.
“We will have a total field workforce of about 9,000 ready to restore outages when the storm moves out of the Carolinas,” said Jason Hollifield, Duke Energy’s incident commander for the Carolinas. “Our customers should know that once we begin work, we will not stop until restoration is complete.”
Though the platoon of lineworkers and support personnel will be ready to roll out once the winds die down, Duke Energy cautioned customers that it could take a little time before their lights come back on.
The company said the first step in getting the grid back online is assessing the damage so it can make informed decisions on where to deploy its workforce. That process that could take 24 hours or more.
With that in mind, Duke Energy told residents to be cautious around any damaged power equipment — stay away from fallen or sagging power lines and if one happens to fall on your car, don’t attempt to get out unless an immediate emergency, such as a fire, presents itself.
The company also reiterated standard hurricane prep instructions: build a disaster supply kit with two weeks worth of necessities such as food, water and medicine; keep important documents such as insurance policies and home inventories in a dry, accessible place; and have a portable TV or weather radio on hand for storm updates.
Duke Energy also has set up a website for customers to keep up to date on its power restoration efforts.
As of Tuesday the once-Category 5 storm had been downgraded to a Category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph. Dorian stalled over the Bahamas for much of Monday and the current forecast predicts the storm will reach North Carolina by the end of the week.
There is still a chance Dorian could make landfall in Florida, but even if the Sunshine State is spared a direct hit, much of the east coast will likely get tropical storm-level winds and heavy rainfall.
Most of Florida’s Atlantic coast remains under a hurricane warning.