Prepping for the ice storm & power line dangers

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email|Facebook

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - In the event we do get hit with ice, crews have been out pre-treating the roads and working to stay ahead of the storm.

Plenty of road crews were seen making pit-stops at the salt pile in Camp Washington Monday night, to fill-up on rock salt, before they head out for what could prove to be a long and challenging night.

Traffic was moving ok Monday night, but in the overnight hours, heavy truck traffic on I-75 and early morning school buses could be brought to a halt, as the ice moves in.

"We really don't like ice," said Larry Whitaker with Operations for the City of Cincinnati.

Who does? But to battle ice, the city has four salt domes to draw from.

"If things stay to the north, we're gonna be good," Whitaker said. "If they come a little bit south, we're gonna be really, really bad, we're hoping for the really good and trying to prepare for the really bad."

If you look at the inside of the salt pile, it looks like a cutaway from the Grand Canyon, but it's part of 14-thousand tons of salt crews have on-hand right now.

Crews are a little ahead of the storm, thanks to all the salt they threw down from the last big snowstorm.

"A lot of it's leftover from last week," Whitaker said. "But we've also been pre-treating the last couple of days."

"Ice is terrible," said Sally Thelen, spokesperson for Duke Energy.

The company went into storm mode over the weekend, bracing for strong winds and ice amounts that could topple power lines.

"So many times people are injured thinking they might be able to use a broom or some other type of instrument just to try and get it out of the way," Thelen said. "If they think it's a danger, by all means, let the experts handle it."

Never try to move or touch a power line. Always assume it's still hot.

"There was an unfortunate situation in the past two weeks, out in California, that took the lives of three family members, because one after another were coming into contact with the downed line," Thelen said.

"It was a like a mother, then the father and then one of the children came out to help and two children stayed in are seeing all of this unfold," Thelen said. "It's absolutely horrific."

If we get hit hard, Duke Energy can pull resources from a 5-state area.

"We've got colleagues down in the Carolinas that are prepared to hit the road first thing tomorrow (Tuesday) morning if this storm is nearly as problematic as it could be."

Thelen said you may recall a few years ago, a terrible ice storm hit Northern Kentucky. From Bracken and Pendleton counties, southward to Lexington, some of those areas were hit so hard, they were without power for weeks.

The real challenge for both power and salt crews, will be to get around safely, trying to keep you safe.

Severe winter weather can bring with it the potential for power outages. Duke Energy said it is prepared to respond quickly and safely to restore any outages our customers might experience. If customers lose power, call 800-543-5599 to report the outage.

Before Severe Weather Strikes:

Have a portable radio, TV, or NOAA Weather Radio on hand to monitor official weather forecasts and other important information for your area.

Have a plan to move yourself and your family - especially those with special needs - to an alternate location in case you have to evacuate or experience an extended power outage.

Keep a supply of water and non-perishable food items on hand.

Ensure first aid supplies and all medicines are readily available.

Make sure flashlights are readily available and working and that a supply of extra batteries is on hand.

Consider the need for specialty items such as prescription medication, baby food, additional warm clothing and a safe heat source.

Homeowners who depend on well water should draw an emergency water supply in case power to their electric water pumps is interrupted.

If you have an emergency heating or power source, learn how to use it properly.

Have at least one traditional analog phone in your home that does not require electricity to operate. Cordless phones and phones with built-in answering machines will not operate during a power outage.

Safety Around Power Lines:

Stay away from downed or sagging power lines, and do not touch anything that is on or near a power line (i.e., trees or tree limbs, cars, ladders).

Keep children and family pets away from areas where lines may have fallen (backyards, fields, school yards, etc.).

If a power line falls across a car that you're in, stay in the car. If you MUST get out of the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.

Report all power line hazards to Duke Energy or your local emergency services department or agency.

Additional storm tips as well as current outage information is located on, under the "Outage and Storm Information" tab.

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