Columbus, Neb. – Adverse weather conditions have already impacted communities across the state, but more severe weather could be in Nebraska’s future as spring rolls around. Tornadoes, snow, ice storms and thunderstorms are all threats during this unpredictable time of the year.
Nebraska Public Power District, in observance of Nebraska Severe Weather Awareness Week March 25-29, is urging its retail and wholesale customers to be vigilant of these ever-changing weather conditions and be prepared in the event of power outages.
“We are impacted by the weather year-round, but springtime is the riskiest, and you never know what will happen as conditions change,” said NPPD’s Director of Delivery Art Wiese. “The recent spring storm that brought both blizzards and thunderstorms caused major flooding across the state and is an example of how intense and diverse spring storms can be.”
One result of severe spring storms are downed power lines. Tornadoes can bring down transmission lines typically located in rural areas, but trees damaged by tornadoes or high wind conditions can come down on local distribution lines, too, creating an outage for an entire community. “We urge the public to stay away from downed power lines and poles, consider them to be live, and not attempt to move them,” Wiese said. “It is important to allow trained linemen from NPPD or other public power utilities to safely move any power lines to avoid possible electrocution.”
Wiese added, “We also ask that if a power line is down across the roadway, consider it to be live and do not attempt to drive over it.”
He also pointed out that if you are in a car and a power line has fallen on it, stay in the car until public power utility personnel arrive on the scene. If remaining in the car is not an option due to a fire or other unsafe conditions, jump clear of the vehicle so that you land upright with your feet touching the ground together, and then shuffle approximately 20 feet or further away, keeping your feet together and on the ground.
When severe weather conditions are anticipated, NPPD crews from around the state prepare for an emergency response. “We have to first determine the extent of damage, bring in the necessary crews, and then begin the work of restoration,” Wiese added.
Tips on safety precautions during a power outage are available at https://www.nppd.com/outages-safety/electrical-safety.