Seasons change and the power lines that supply our electricity can be effected depending on the weather. During the spring and summer month’s electricity seems to be fine but hangs with sag for a reason, particularly in the northern areas. During the winter, the ice accumulates on the wires weighing it down to such a degree that it can break and result in power failure. Temperature plays a role in the conductors capability to withstand a given voltages and the amps used on a given line. If the weather is colder it is better for the conductor because it keeps the ‘hot’ wire cooler, and allows conductor to work more efficiently. Ice on the lines weighs it down, allowing line to break.
Heavy amounts of snow and ice with fluctuating winter temperatures can cause a utility poles, trees, and limps to bring electric wires down causing a disruption in power for several days. Down power lines can cause threats to properties and even cause mortality rates to rise during those times. Winter emergencies rise with the possibility of death from lack of heat, the ability to leave the home for wood for fire places, and generally communication of needs drops from improper electricity to cell phone towers in parts of extreme snow. Restoring power and heat to customers is a major priority to electrical companies and crews who work twenty four hours a day, seven days a week; even working in the rain, shine, and snow to restore service.
Despite valiant efforts to repair damage during a winter storm can take days to fix, and in that time deaths can happen. As a precaution if a power line is down it could be submerged in ice or snow and difficult to see, so staying away from the area is advisable. When traveling outside if a power line is down stay away from it as though it were energized, and communicate to the utility company about the downed like if possible to do so. Power lines do not have to be sparking or moving to be live and deadly.
Caution should always be taken when it comes to winter and power lines, if you see someone who has been shocked from direct or indirect contact with a downed power line do not touch the person; in doing so the person could become a victim themselves. Make no assumptions when it comes to any wires, it may not be a telephone wire, or cable line. Do not submerge yourself in any water, puddle or otherwise, in some instances snow covered ground can conduct electricity. Only knowledgeable utility company technicians are equipped to handle a dropped power line.
During a snow storm if a line falls on a car, stay inside the vehicle. Honk to alert people passing; do not touch the car or the line. The only time it is advisable to leave a vehicle with a downed power line on top of it is if the vehicle catches fire. Open the door, jump out completely free of the vehicle to avoid any puddles or potential shock. Precautions should always be taken when leaving the house during the winter, especially in a snow storm.