Snowstorms bring different kinds of destruction to different areas of the country. The powerful wind gusts, along with the snow, are enough to cause anxiety about people’s homes and property. But can snowstorms cause power outages?
As snow and ice accumulate on power lines and tree branches during winter storms, it poses a risk to electrical infrastructure. Cables may break because of the immense weight of the snow and ice. As a result of the accumulation of snow and ice, tree limbs might also get too heavy and break, falling into power lines.
Keep reading below for more information.
Can Snowstorms Cause Power Outages?
Brutal winter storms cause lots of destruction annually in the form of structural damage. Yes, this includes power lines and electrical equipment. On March 4, 2023, the people of the United States experienced the drastic effects of snowstorms occurring all over the country, leading to power outages and deaths.
During this extreme weather, an estimated 400,000 people were without power in the South.
This can be caused by the freezing rain and sleet that come with a snowstorm. Snowstorms may also cause ice to form on the power lines, which can weigh them down and cause them to get damaged.
Even worse, a tree branch may break and rest on the power line, which can cause additional weight. Furthermore, even if a tree branch does not fall on the power lines, there is a risk of ice accumulating near tree roots, which may cause damage to underground power lines.
Leaning poles can also fall on account of the high winds that they experience. Based on where you live, the power should be back in a couple of hours, max. However, it may take longer if the power infrastructure in your region is not built to withstand such extreme weather.
Lastly, it’s likely that during such extreme weather, the demand for electrical equipment such as central heaters will increase. It’s possible that the utility companies will be unable to manage the electricity load, eventually leading to a power outage.
Here’s another news report about a snowstorm causing power outages recently:
How to Survive a Power Outage During a Snowstorm?
Life can be in danger from power disruptions during the chilly winter months. You and your family can stay secure and comfortable if you are ready. A few suggestions for surviving a power loss during a snowfall are given below:
In a snowfall, temperatures may drop considerably if the power goes out. Ensure that all outside doors are closed. Towels can be used to seal off window and door crack draughts.
Black cloth can also be used to insulate windows. The black absorbs the solar heat. Place the blankets on the ground in the area where the sunlight is directly shining rather than placing them on the window if the sun’s rays are entering the room through the window.
Another way to heat up the house is to run a hot bath. The trickle setting on faucets prevents pipes from freezing. Pipes can be wrapped with newspaper or insulation, if necessary. Open the doors to the cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom to let hotter air flow around the piping.
Avoiding Risks While Driving or at Home
Avoid driving in conditions involving ice, drizzle, freezing rain, snow, or thick fog. Have a disaster supply kit in your car in case travel is required. Never go alone; inform someone of your destination and expected arrival time.
Don’t use anything that generates flames, including a gas stove, a charcoal barbecue, or a fireplace. Your home may accumulate deadly carbon monoxide gas, which has no smell and cannot be seen.
Avoid the Risks of Carbon Monoxide
When in an outage, there is a risk of electric shock, fire, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure to place generators where the CO can escape and not accumulate inside the house.
Ensure that generators are operated according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and are appropriately vented. Spend some time reading the owner’s instructions for the generator before you find yourself in a situation where you must utilize it.
Install carbon monoxide alarms if you reside in an area that frequently experiences blizzards. It’s ideal for placing one in a prominent area on each floor. If the alarm goes off, go outside or near an open window as soon as possible. Make an emergency call and hang on until help arrives.
In the winter, keeping three days’ worth of non-perishable food and water on hand is essential. A radio, batteries, and flashlights are also useful emergency items. Stockpiling is a terrific idea for fruit bars, nut butter, crackers, trail mix, and canned juices.
When attempting to prepare a hot dinner, be mindful of fuel fumes. When there is a power outage, cooking poses a serious risk of asphyxiation.
Keep the freezer and refrigerator doors shut. Food will last for hours in these appliances if the door is kept closed most of the time because they are well insulated. In order to keep food cold throughout the outage, a sufficient quantity of snow or ice from outside may be wrapped in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
In these circumstances, communication could be the difference between life and death. Avoid making too many non-emergency phone calls when there is a crisis. This will also help to reduce network traffic. Phone lines can be kept open longer through texting.
A portable charger should be kept on hand, just in case. To save battery life when you cannot access a portable charger, turn down the screen brightness and close any open apps.
Keeping Children and Pets Safe
Keeping an eye on children or pets while experiencing extreme weather can be difficult. Keeping your cool in this circumstance will help put kids at ease.
Keep emergency contact information visible and accessible, and prepare children’s emergency medications. Your kids and pets should wear extra clothing or be covered with blankets. When younger children are involved, distraction can be a very helpful tool.
Above all, be sure to offer lots of hugs and vocal assurance. Little children may not always convey their worries and emotions.
In conclusion, yes, a snowstorm can cause a power outage. This makes it all the more important to stay prepared for such an event. You never know how long you may have to survive a snowstorm without power.