Columbus, Neb. – One day the weather conditions can be perfect. The next day tornado warnings could be flashing across Nebraska. Spring is an unpredictable time and weather conditions can raise the threats of tornadoes, possible snow and ice storms, and other adverse conditions.
Nebraska Public Power District, in observance of Nebraska Severe Weather Awareness Week March 25-31, 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. “ A prime example was last June when straight line winds measuring well over 80 miles per hour did extensive damage to the Plattsmouth community, flattening trees and damaging the electric distribution system.”
One result of severe spring storms are downed power lines. Tornadoes can bring down transmission lines that are typically in rural areas, but trees damaged by tornadoes or high wind conditions can come down on local distribution lines, 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 do not attempt
to move them,” Wiese pointed out. “It is important to allow trained lineman from NPPD or other public power utilities to safely move any power lines to avoid the possibility of electrocution,” Wiese also added, “We also ask that if a power line is down across the roadway to 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 the 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,” he added. Plattsmouth was almost fully restored 48 hours after the event. Tips on safety precautions during a power outage are available at www.nppd.com/outages/outage-