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AccuWeather clients received advance notice of power outages caused by February ice storms


Advance notice of February ice storms helped clients prepare for power outages.

Key Highlights

Areas impacted: Repeated rounds of freezing rain in Virginia and parts of the Carolinas

Early heads-up: AccuWeather For Business clients had 5 days of notice before first ice storm

Detailed outlook: Forecasts included specific ice accumulation amounts and the area most likely to experience power outages

The middle part of February featured multiple rounds of winter weather for much of the country, with Virginia and parts of the Carolinas experiencing several days of freezing rain. Tree and power line damage from back-to-back ice storms caused a prolonged period of power outages, which AccuWeather highlighted ahead of time across products sent to clients. 

Early Notice

AccuWeather clients were alerted to the possibility of the first ice storm several days prior with our Storm Potential Notice highlighting specific regions that would be affected by accumulating ice.

The potential for power outages was specifically called out in the accompanying text: “Disruptions to logistical operations are expected, with road and interstate closures and travel delays in areas of heavy ice and snow, and downed trees and localized power outages in areas of heavy icing."

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Ice amounts of 0.25-0.50 inches were observed across parts of North Carolina into Virginia, leaving 90-100% of the population in several counties without power. 

These power outages expanded and compounded as additional storms produced freezing rain across the region over the following week. 

Compounding Events

Over the course of the following week, freezing rain impacted a significant portion of the country from the Southern Plains into the mid-Atlantic. AccuWeather clients received consistent, comprehensive updates from our meteorologists, including start and end times of accumulating ice, amounts of ice, and specifically pinpointed the area most at risk for power outages.

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AccuWeather's "Widespread Power Outage Risk" is shown here in the dark purple shade with asterisks. Underlaid is the forecast for accumulating ice, with the lightest shade indicating freezing rain with ice amounts of 0.01-0.10 inch and the dark pink shade indicating freezing rain with amounts of 0.25-0.50 inch.

The storm’s forecast included an area of 0.50-1.0 inches of ice accumulation, which included locations still recovering from the previous rounds of ice. With Duke Energy still working to restore power to several thousand customers, the next round of ice was likely to hinder recovery operations while further damaging power lines. 

Helping You Plan

While preventing power outages may not be possible, planning for them is possible and necessary. With the advance notice and precision forecasting of these ice storms, AccuWeather For Business clients ensured their business continuity plans accounted for widespread and extended power outages, particularly those with assets located in the area outlined by the Widespread Power Outage Risk product. 

Be a step ahead of impactful weather events like these with the expert insight of AccuWeather For Business meteorologists.

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