CINCINNATI — Crews are preparing for severe weather to move through the Tri-State overnight.
The 9 First Warning Weather Team has issued a Weather Alert Day through Saturday morning as a line of storms is expected to enter the area late Friday into Saturday morning. Damaging winds, flooding and isolated tornadoes are possible, with Indiana counties seeing the highest risk for severe weather.
In a letter to customers, Duke Energy said crews are assembled to respond to power outages throughout the region. If winds persist, though, spokesperson Sally Thelen said restoring power could take longer. Crews typically use bucket trucks to get high enough to fix power lines, but Thelen said it would not be safe to do so.
"The winds are going to be the primary issue in this type of storm, where if they're above 35 miles an hour, we cannot safely be up in the air. So we can't get out to get up in the buckets until after the winds wind down," Thelen said.
Customers are asked to report their outage on Duke Energy's website or mobile app. In the event of an outage, Tri-State residents are encouraged to know where flashlights, batteries or other essentials are.
"In the event of any kind of outages that would extend, [you] need to make sure you have adequate water...batteries for radios and ability to charge any of your electronic devices," Thelen said.
To get weather updates during an outage, keep a radio nearby or download apps that provide breaking weather alerts to charged electronic devices. Storm Shield provides breaking weather alerts for exact locations, including alerts that can wake people up if they need to take shelter. WCPO will be fully staffed throughout the night, and the 9 First Warning Weather Team will be live on the WCPO 9 Cincinnati app during any severe weather.
In addition to power outages, ISA Certified Arborist Steve Beach said he is anticipating some large trees will be downed — some more likely than others.
"Pear trees are really susceptible for breakage of weak attachment points," Beach said. "Nurseries really don't sell them anymore, because they have a tendency to break, and with high winds at 40 to 50 miles an hour, I would say that that's going to happen."
His Beach's Tree Service is prepared to help with storm cleanup anywhere from Dayton to Florence.
"We'll just make sure everybody's well-rested, ready to go and just be on standby," Beach said. "We have about 20 guys ready to go — tonight, in the morning."
Christmas decorations and other belongings should be brought inside. Anyone who encounters downed lines or poles should steer clear of the area and call 911 or Duke Energy.