Dominion, Roanoke Electric prep for winter storm

Published 11:05 am Wednesday, February 12, 2014

With old Man Winter rearing his head for the third time in an equal number of weeks, local residents can possibly expect power outages due to the expected wet, heavy snow combined with sleet and possibly freezing rain on Wednesday into early Thursday morning.

That icy scenario has local power companies standing ready to restore electricity to their customers.

Roanoke Electric Cooperative and other electric cooperative crews throughout the state are on alert for any outages that may result from the predicted wintry weather.

Snow, freezing rain and sleet are possible overnight and in the coming days across North Carolina, and the cooperatives are monitoring conditions closely. Freezing rain is the greatest concern, as ice-laden branches that fall on power lines are a major cause of outages during winter storms.

REC members are asked to call their cooperative directly if they experience a disruption in power. To report an outage, call 1-800-358-9437. If you see a downed power line, members should report it immediately by dialing 252-209-2236 or report it to local emergency responders by calling 9-1-1. Under no circumstances should anyone approach or drive over a fallen power line.

Dominion Power serves a large number of customers in southeast Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. They have also pre-staged crews to respond if and when the power is interrupted by the storm.

“We expect snow to fall throughout our system on Wednesday evening, around 5 pm for Hampton Roads and Northern North Carolina,” said Bonita Harris, spokesperson for Dominion Power. “We expect a heavy, wet snow capable of producing widespread outages across northwest and central Virginia.  We are not expecting a major impact in Hampton Roads; however we are leaving ample coverage in this area in case they’re needed.  We will also send crews from Hampton Roads to help in areas expected to have a heavy impact.

“We have also secured crews who will be pre-staged on our system even before the snow starts to fall.  Additional resources can be available if, when and where we need them,” Harris added.

Dominion has already reached out for mutual assistance through the Southeast Electric Exchange, with the vast majority of that aid arriving Wednesday night.

North Carolina Department of Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry said a combination of any ice and heavy winds could cause power outages. He recommended people follow these winter safety tips.

Keep alternative heating sources prepared. If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them.

Do not use charcoal grills or generators indoors; the fumes can be deadly.

Turn off electrical appliances that were on when the power went off to avoid a power surge when the electricity is restored.

Use flashlights. Do not use candles; they greatly increase the chance of having a fire in your home.

Limit your activities to no more than two rooms and close off unneeded rooms.

Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors and cover windows at night to keep cold air out and warm air in.

If you have well water, fill up tubs and buckets with water so if the power goes out you still have water.

Remember to eat and drink regularly. Food provides the body with energy to produce its own heat.

Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration.

Wear layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing.  Layering clothes keeps you warmer than a single layer of heavy clothing.  Remove layers to avoid overheating, perspiration and subsequent chill.