Insights > Stay weather aware: Extreme cold, wintry weather expected this week
Stay weather aware: Extreme cold, wintry weather expected this week
The National Weather Service predicts frigid Arctic air and strong winds will impact most of our service area this week.
A wintry mix of snow and rain is expected in the northern region of our service area on Thursday. Temperatures are forecast to drop below freezing across Arkansas on Wednesday with some areas of the state not expected to see temps above freezing until the weekend. Customers across Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas should experience freezing temperatures later in the week through the weekend, with parts of Mississippi and Louisiana seeing hard freezes in the 20s and teens starting overnight Thursday into Friday morning. Friday could also bring snow to Arkansas and northern/central Louisiana and Mississippi.
Customers should prepare now, remain safe
The most dangerous part of a storm is often just after it has passed. Hazards are all around us following severe winter weather – from downed electric lines and equipment on the ground to trees or power lines above. Be aware of your surroundings. Just one-half inch of ice can add 500 pounds of weight on power lines, as well as tree limbs which could then fall onto power lines and people. It’s safest to avoid the area near ice-laden power lines and tree limbs.
Stay away from downed power lines and areas of debris. Energized lines may not be visible among the rubble. Report downed lines immediately by calling 1-800-ENTERGY (800-368-3749) and call your local police station or fire department. If you plan to use a personal generator, do so safely. Never use a generator indoors. The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution and fire.
Ice is particularly harmful to electrical lines
Heavy snow and ice can bring down power lines. In fact, ice can increase the weight of branches by 30 times. That added weight on power lines and trees often make them snap, causing power outages and dangerous conditions above. Extreme cold can make materials like wood and metal brittle. Sometimes, ice can impact transmission lines and cause them to “gallop,” which can result in a power outage. This is a slow, “skipping rope” motion of power lines that occurs when rain freezes to the power lines, and then steady winds cause adjacent lines to move and sometimes contact one another.
Restoring power in extreme cold is different
The restoration process is done in an orderly, deliberate manner. As soon as it's safe to work, our crews start turning the lights back on for our customers. Restoration efforts begin as scouts start assessing the storm’s damage, and crews start needed repairs at the source and work outward. Certain types of work, such as repairs requiring the use of bucket trucks, cannot be safely completed when winds exceed 30 miles per hour.
When temperatures are extremely cold, we must bring customers back online one section at a time, rather than simply energizing an entire power line all at once. Restoring all customers on the same power line simultaneously can create large, instantaneous power demands. The instant demand is different than day-to-day operations and could be higher than the built-in protective devices on lines were designed to handle. This is done for the safety of our customers, and to avoid damaging our system or making the situation worse.
Customers can help, too
During a winter storm, many customers leave their heating systems and appliances turned on. If your power goes out and when it’s restored, there may be too much energy demand all at once. This can cause additional problems. Customers without power can help by turning off major appliances. Leave on a lamp or other light to indicate when power is restored, then gradually turn on other appliances to spread out the increase in power usage over a longer period of time.
We’re storm ready, 365 days a year
When a weather threat arises, we ramp up support. Our year-round storm preparations include the vegetation management program and the targeted “ground to sky” vegetation trimming, which removes tree limbs that would normally have been above the power line. We also use artificial intelligence and satellite imagery to help predict when trimming may be needed. And, we’ve taken measures in advance to ensure we’re winter-ready. Read more here.
Safekeeping resources on our Storm Center
- Get prepared: Make a plan, make a kit.
- Prepare your home: Winterize inside and out.
- Your mobile phone: A lifeline during a disaster.
- Stay informed: Download the app, register for notifications.
- Stay safe: Safety after the storm.
- Generator safety: Know the hazards.
- Gas safety: Know the signs.
- Extreme cold safety: Indoor and outdoor tips.