Electric companies and local governments that operate utilities are preparing for power outages from the Piedmont to the coast because of high winds and rains from Hurricane Irene.
Progress Energy said Friday it will have an additional 800 line workers and 250 tree cutters at their disposal once the storm blows by and it's safe to venture out. Spokesman Jeff Brooks said winds could be high enough in central North Carolina to cause outages in addition to those at the coast.
The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning starting Saturday morning for several counties from Clinton to Roanoke Rapids, where gusts could reach 60 mph. There's an advisory for gusts of up to 40 mph for points further west, from Raleigh to Fayetteville.