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Schools closed Thursday as forecasters warn of 'signficant ice accumulation'

The National Weather Service, Duke Energy and emergency officials warned Wednesday that an ice storm overnight could result in widespread power outages and dangerous driving conditions.


 With emergency management officials signaling "high confidence" that the ice storm will create hazardous roads and power outages, the Henderson County administrators announced that schools would be closed and both the city of Hendersonville and Henderson County announced a two-hour delay in the start of the work day.

"Significant amounts of ice accumulations will make travel dangerous or impossible," the National Weather Service said. "Travel is strongly discouraged."

The NWS forecast ice accumulations of one-tenth to three-tenths of an inch, with southern and western Henderson County and Transylvania County in the crosshairs for the largest amount. There is a chance of rain, snow, and sleet before 9 tonight followed by rain then changing to freezing rain after midnight. Freezing rain may continue until 10 a.m. or noon Thursday. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent.

Duke Energy said its meteorologists were forecasting a quarter inch of ice or more Wednesday night through Thursday morning in parts of Transylvania, Henderson, Polk, Rutherford and Cleveland counties.  "This has the potential to cause dangerous travel conditions and significant power outages," the utility said in an advisory.

Here is an advisory from Duke Energy:

Duke Energy urges customers to have a plan in place now, in the event they experience an extended power outage.

With temperatures forecasted to be below freezing Friday and Saturday in many areas of both states, customers should consider alternative locations for family members who are elderly or who have special medical needs, if outages are extended.

When checking on neighbors and friends, be sure to follow social distancing recommendations, local orders and restrictions, and other CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others.

Tips to help you and your family stay safe

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, water, non-perishable foods, blankets, travel bags and other supplies that might be hard to find after a storm strikes. Your emergency kit should also include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, bar or liquid soap, and face coverings aligned with CDC guidance.

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 cellphones, computers and other electronic devices in advance of storms to stay connected to important safety and response information. Consider purchasing portable chargers and make sure they are fully charged as well.

Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all lines energized as well as trees or limbs in contact with lines. Please report downed power lines to Duke Energy.

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.

If you use a generator due to a power outage, follow the manufacturer's instructions to ensure safe and proper operation. Operate your generator outside. Never operate it inside a building or garage.

Reporting outages and receiving updates

Before a storm hits, customers can sign up to receive outage alerts, and ensure contact information is current and communication preferences specified. Throughout the storm, the company will also provide updates to customers via email, phone, text and the website.

Customers who experience a power outage can report it the following ways: Visit on a desktop computer or mobile device. Use the Duke Energy mobile app – download the Duke Energy App from a smartphone via Apple Store or Google Play.

Text OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply). Call Duke Energy’s automated outage-reporting system:

  • ·  Duke Energy Carolinas: 1-800-POWERON (1-800-769-3766)