Tornadoes, snow and ice storms, adverse conditions — they’re all a part of the equation as spring arrives and brings with it unsettled weather patterns. When storms roll across Nebraska they can strike fear in the hardiest among us. Severe weather might send us scurrying for shelter, but with training and preparedness, spring need not be a deadly season.
That’s the word this week from Nebraska Public Power District, which is urging its customers to be vigilant during evolving weather conditions and be prepared in the event of power outages.
“Springtime is the riskiest and you never know what will happen as conditions change,” said Art Wiese, NPPD’s director of delivery. “A prime example was last June when straight line winds measuring well over 80 mph did extensive damage to the Plattsmouth community, flattening trees and damaging the electric distribution system.”
Left behind after the severe weather exited Plattsmouth were numerous downed power lines. That wasn’t surprising. Power lines may survive strong winds alone, but if winds send tree limbs crashing down, there aren’t many power lines that can survive the battering.
Downed lines mean outages, but it’s risky business for people to wander outside to find the source of the outage, especially at night. They might step on or bump into an energized line, and doing so could be lethal.
Wiese shared some wise advice: “Stay away from downed power lines and poles. Consider them to be live, and do not attempt to move them.” NPPD and other power suppliers have trained lineman to take care of downed power lines. Amateurs are begging for trouble if they think they have what it takes to move downed lines and poles, even if they’re blocking a street or road. NPPD advises that downed lines should be considered charged and dangerous.
Anyone caught in a vehicle with a downed line draped over it should stay in the car until crews from NPPD or other utilities arrive. NPPD advises that, if remaining in the car is not an option because of fire or other unsafe conditions, jump clear of the vehicle so that you land upright with your feet touching the ground together.
Additional tips on safety precautions during a power outage are available at www.nppd.com/outages/outage-safety-tips.