Snow storm causes widespread power outages

Snow storm causes widespread power outages

FOX19 - As the temperatures drop through the night Monday night, the concern is shifting away from snow on the ground, to snow sitting above your head on power lines and tree limbs.

With the temperatures falling, and frigid winds blowing, you could wake up in the dark on Tuesday.

"We've seen a 100 percent spike today in branches on lines. It's just something we know we're going to encounter when we have any sort of icing and certainly the wet, heavy snow," said Sally Thelen, a spokesperson for Duke Energy.

As of Monday night, there are less than 200 power outages in the area for Duke Energy customers, which is a much different story than the thousands without lights to start the day on Monday. The blast of winter has left its mark in a lot of places by way of broken tree limbs and downed power lines.

Crews are scrambling to get everyone back up and running just in time for another night of uncertainty.

"The conditions alone make it very challenging to be out there in the elements making the repairs that need to be made. It's intricate work. It's dangerous work," said Thelen.

One of the biggest concerns heading in to Monday night is a situation with tree limbs hanging over and resting on power lines. With wind gusts expected to reach up to 30 mph, what's on those can easily freeze and snap, leaving you in the dark when you wake up.

"You can see just the weight of the snow, what it's doing if you look across here. This tree split just from the weight of the snow on the branches," Thelen said.

That's what crews are preparing for. Just like salt trucks and plow drivers, they're working late hours, too.

"From a systems standpoint, we're prepared for it. But, this kind of temperature this early in the year is something we're not quite as accustomed to," Thelen said.

As those temperatures drop and those risks exist, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • If you see a tree that's pulled down a line, leave everything alone as that wire may still be live. You should call your power company to report it.
  • If an extended outage hits, you should have a plan in place to go somewhere warm, maybe with family or friends.
  • Please be patient as crews may be busy.

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