Duke Energy has begun moving crews in anticipation of a winter storm expected to cover its Carolinas service territory with snow, sleet and ice.

A total of 150 workers are en route from the company's Midwest operations to Greensboro, North Carolina, and another 250 are coming up from Florida and will be staged in Florence, South Carolina.

They will bolster the company's regular complement of line technicians, service crews and other personnel who all stand ready to respond to outages as they occur.

"Today's flurries appear to be just an ominous appetizer for the main blast of winter weather scheduled to arrive tomorrow and into Thursday," said Jeff Corbett, senior vice president of Duke Energy's Carolinas Delivery Operations. "The severity and impact of the storm depends on several factors, including temperature and wind. But the clouds are gathering and we are prepared for whatever comes our way."

Restoring power after an ice storm can be challenging as travel conditions are poor. Before power can be restored, crews first assess damage and determine what crews, equipment and supplies will be needed to make repairs. Because of this, customers may see damage assessors patrolling their neighborhoods before crews arrive to begin work.

Crews prioritize work to ensure the largest number of customers is restored as quickly as possible. Essential services such as hospitals and emergency responders have priority.

"Our crews will work as quickly and safely as possible to complete restorations," said Corbett. "Depending on the number of outages and the amount of damage sustained, we know from past storms some customers may experience multi-day outages.

"I cannot stress enough the importance of being prepared and having a plan in place now in the event your power goes off," he added. "We appreciate our customers and their advanced preparedness and patience as we brace for this unprecedented event."  

Updates will be provided on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DukeEnergyStorm and www.facebook.com/DukeEnergyStorm.