With the Indian Electric Cooperative service area under a Wind Chill Warning, members are urged to prepare for the cold snap.
Air temperature is predicted to drop to the low teens-single digits overnight and into Thursday morning, with a projected 20-30 mph wind speed. A chance of light snow/precipitation and windchill values as low as 20 below zero could set in by Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service. The forecast shows the brutal cold will extend through Christmas weekend.
Remember, the cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.
If possible, weather experts are recommending people to avoid outside activities. When outside, make sure to wear appropriate clothing, including a warm hat, scarf, gloves and thick socks with your shoes.
Cost-wise, it’s important to remember that the colder it is outside, the harder your indoor heat supply has to work to maintain comfortable temperatures. Bills in winter months often increase because of weather conditions. Wearing warmer clothes indoors and adjusting your thermostat by just 3 degrees can save you money.
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While the weather alone is not a large threat to power outages because ice is not expected, there are other threats to power that increase, such as vehicles crashing into poles. However, co-op officials say, the cold temperatures are life-threatening in certain situations, so preparedness is key.
“IEC crews spend every day maintaining our system and lines to prevent outages, but some things are beyond our control,” IEC spokesperson Brandi Ball said. “Cars can slide into poles on slippery roads, heavy winds can cause flickers. It’s important to have a plan in case of an outage. We know every minute counts for those who are especially vulnerable to the cold. IEC prides itself on fast restoral times, but when our crews are in -20 degree windchills, they might not be able to work as fast as they do on a sunny day.”
Here are a few outage preparation tips:
• Make sure you have an alternate heat source. Source and properly store kerosene for your heater; candles; and wood, gas or pellets for stoves. If you are using space heaters, place on a solid, flat surface at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn.
• Stock up on water. Electric water pumps don’t work when the power is out. Store your water supply where it won’t freeze.
• Ensure you have food supplies an infant formula on hand. It’s always best to minimize the time you spend outdoors in dangerous temperatures.
• Charge up your devices, and put your flashlights, batteries, power banks, lanterns and radios in an easy-to-access location.
• Top off your gas tank. Most gas stations rely on electricity to operate their pumps, and you might need to use your vehicle as a charging or warming station in an emergency. Ensure you have blankets, extra coats and gloves in your vehicle in case you have trouble or an accident and need to wait on help.
• Seal drafts, caulk windows, insulate pipes, have carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups on every level of your home.
• In the cooperative spirit, check on your neighbors and anyone you know who may be elderly and might need guidance in preparing.
IEC members can report a power outage by calling 918-295-9598 or by using the SmartHub app.