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Here's why ice on trees can cause power outages

The Charlotte area could see the power grid take a hit following Friday's winter weather.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The National Weather Service has issued warnings for ice and snow expected to impact Charlotte and the Carolinas Saturday night through Monday morning.

Power companies like Duke Energy have warned home and business owners to prepare for potential outages. 

RELATED: How to report a power outage during the winter storm

It's not the snow we have to be worried about, according to the First Warn Weather Team's forecast. It's the threat of ice that could cause problems.

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So why is ice so dangerous to the power grid?

As a general rule, once ice accumulations reach about a quarter of an inch, the weight of the ice on tree limbs and power lines can cause them to sag or snap. 

Cypress and pine trees are especially susceptible to ice issues because they still have their leaves this time of year in Charlotte homeowners' yards. 

Credit: WCNC

When ice coats these trees' leaves, the limbs have hundreds of pounds of weight on them, causing them to break and fall on power lines.

So what can you do to prevent issues on your property?

RELATED: Here's where Charlotteans without a home or power can seek shelter during the winter storm

Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do ahead of the storm. As a good practice, you might want to park your car away from these types of trees.

This week, some tree trimming companies have been working to cut back limbs ahead of the storm as well.

 đŸŒŠī¸ If you like weather, watch Brad Panovich and the WCNC Charlotte First Warn Weather Team on their YouTube channel, Weather IQ. đŸŽĨ

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