Winter storm power outages: How to prepare and stay safe

With power outages expected to impact the Elon area, here are some tips on how to make sure you're prepared and you stay safe.

The winter storm moving through central North Carolina on Thursday is expected to bring downed trees, branches and power lines, with energy provider Duke Energy anticipating that nearly 1 million outages in North Carolina and South Carolina before the storm ends.

Given the forecast, it’s likely Elon’s campus will be impacted by a power outage. Find below guidance on how to prepare for an outage and for those on campus, what they should do if an outage does occur.

With power outages likely in the Elon University area, what can you do to prepare?

Duke Energy offers a range of tips to help you prepare for a power outage, whether you live on campus or off, and ways to remain safe during a power outage.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

What should students living on campus do if there is a power outage?

  • Students living on-campus in residence halls should shelter-in-place throughout the storm, even if there is a loss in power to areas of campus.
  • Student Life, Physical Plant, and Campus Safety and Police are maintaining safe conditions in residence halls should there be a loss of power that affects door entry or fire alarm systems.
  • Campus dining and other essential services will remain available (Operating schedules are available here). When leaving your residence hall for food, watch out for slippery conditions and falling ice, branches and trees.
  • Moseley Center and Koury Athletic Center have generators and are available as emergency shelters, but the university recommends sheltering-in-place as the safest option.

Track the latest updates on campus conditions and operations here.