Can Snow Cause Power Outages?

In Montana, we see a lot of snow, ice, and winter storms during the colder months. While we may be used to getting up early to shovel the driveway and start the car a few minutes before we need to leave, it feels like we never get used to a winter power outage. During the winter, we often hear from customers, “What is causing my power outage? Can snow and ice cause a power outage?”

Winter Power Outages

Winter storms are just as much a threat to your electrical equipment as any other type of storm. Snow and ice can build up on power lines and tree limbs, causing hazards for the electrical equipment in your neighborhood, town or even near your home. The weight of snow and ice can cause wires to break. They can also cause tree limbs to become heavy and break, falling into power lines or equipment.

What To Do During A Winter Power Outage

Severe winter weather, especially the kind we get in Montana, can cause power outages, which leads to loss of heat for many. Here are some tips to handling the outage and staying warm.

  • For safety reasons, try to use flashlights instead of candles.
  • Knowing where the battery-powered lights in your home are before the storm is very helpful as well!
  • If you are using a standby home generator, do so safely. Never run the generator indoors where carbon monoxide can affect residents of the home, and always follow operator instructions.
  • Only use 911 for emergencies. However, your power company will probably post updates, outage maps, and predicted restart times on their website. You may also be able to sign up for email or text alerts through your power company to receive the most up to date information.
  • Dress warmly and in layers.
  • If you lose your heat, keep doors to unused rooms closed, and place a towel under the doors.
  • Close window shades or places additional blankets over windows to prevent loss of heat.
  • Unplug sensitive electronics, like computers, to protect them from surges when the power comes back on.
  • If you are outdoors, be aware of downed power lines or other storm-related hazards.

Other Causes Of Power Outages

Power outages can be caused by many circumstances. Here are some of the top reasons your power may have gone out:

  • Lightning
  • Wind
  • Rain or flooding
  • Extreme heat
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Small animals
  • Trees

If you have questions about the best way to protect your home, electronics, or heating units during a winter storm, contact the team at Central Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electrical.

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