Columbia, SC (WLTX) — Hurricane Michael will track through South Carolina once it weakens to a tropical storm, and that's going to bring with it the risk of power outages.

It's tough to say at this point how widespread they may be, but with sustained winds of 30-40 miles an hour with gusts higher to 50, that's certainly enough to bring down trees and power lines.

FORECAST: Michael on a path that takes it through South Carolina

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So while you may be spared from having your lights go out, it's a good idea to prepare just in case. Here are some tips from


Prepare now:

Take an inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity.

Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.

Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.

Sign up for local alerts and warning systems. Monitor weather reports.

Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home.

Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last.

Review the supplies that are available in case of a power outage. Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member. Have enough nonperishable food and water.

Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so that you can know the temperature when the power is restored. Throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.

Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tanks full.

Stay safe during

Keep freezers and refrigerators closed. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours. Use coolers with ice if necessary. Monitor temperatures with a thermometer.

Maintain food supplies that do not require refrigeration.

Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Generators, camp stoves, or charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows. Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home.

Check on your neighbors. Older adults and young children are especially vulnerable to extreme temperatures.

Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics. Power may return with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can cause damage.


When in doubt, throw it out! Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color, or texture.

If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the drug’s label says otherwise. If a life depends on the refrigerated drugs, consult a doctor or pharmacist and use medicine only until a new supply is available.