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PREPARING FOR DARKNESS: Ice storm prep advice from power organizations

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 9:38 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR 6) -- The forecast of freezing rain and wind has the potential to cause widespread, prolonged power outages.

It only takes a little bit of ice on power lines to cause an outage.

“Our infrastructure is built to withstand about a half-inch of ice and 40 miles per hour winds,” said Amy Rutledge with Minnesota Power. “Trees however don’t follow those same guidelines.”

Rutledge said the weather forecast could easily take down trees and branches.

“That’s really the main cause of outages,” she said.

According to Rutledge, all of Minnesota Power’s crews are ready in case the lights do go out.

“We really ask our customers to be prepared,” Rutledge said. “We’re getting prepared, our crews are getting prepared, and customers can take steps to be safe during a power outage.”

Some of those steps include having fully charged devices and flashlights, as well as warm clothes.

Lake Country Power, which serves much of Northeast Minnesota, also said it wants its members to be ready for the worst.

“People should have food on supply, stay away from space heaters to eliminate the possibility for fires, and stay home,” said Tami Zaun, Lake Country Power’s public relations coordinator.

Lake Country said ice storms are unique because multiple outages for the same areas are possible.

“We also get a double impact, so we can get double outages both on the front end and back end of the storm,” said Derek Howe, Lake Country Power’s chief operating officer.

Minnesota Power serves more than 145,000 customers in Northeastern Minnesota.

Lake Country Power has about 43,000 members. You can find outage updates on their websites, which can be accessed on mobile devices.

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