CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As Hurricane Irma continues to barrel toward the United States as a dangerous Category 5 storm, now is the time for the Carolinas to prepare.

Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich says it’s important to remain weather aware stay prepared, even several days before the storm is expected to reach the area.

One of the easiest and cheapest things you can do to get ready for a hurricane is a supply kit. With the loss of electricity possible for several days, there are a number of items you’ll want to have handy in an easily accessible place.

Here is a checklist of recommended items:

  • Cash (ATMs may not work)
  • Car charger for cell phones and other devices
  • Drinking water (recommended 1 gallon per person per day, minimum three days)
  • Prescription medication (Two-week supply)
  • Batteries: Extra batteries for all of your devices
  • Battery-operated weather radio/clock
  • Food: Lay in a three-day supply of canned goods and items that don't require refrigeration. Secure a hand-operated can opener, as well as any necessary pet food.
  • Additional items: First aid kit, flashlights, helmets, and blankets. Also, store any essential documents in a watertight container.

RELATED: How to report a power outage in your area

Depending on how far away the storm is, Panovich said it's good to have what he calls the "Ready, Set, Go" method of preparation.


To report a power outage to Duke Energy, you can call 1-800-769-3766. You can also report outages online by clicking here.

If you see a fallen power line or a safety hazard, call Duke Energy officials at 1-800-769-3766. To check the status of current power outages, click here.

For the latest weather conditions with live alerts and updates, download the NBC Charlotte mobile app and the WCNC Weathercaster app today.