Electrical cooperatives in the state said Tuesday afternoon that outages remain low.

Missouri’s electric cooperatives are not currently experiencing any significant outages as a major winter storm moves through the state. However, electric cooperative crews remain on high alert as strong winds are expected later in the day.

The National Weather Service has downgraded its original ice accumulation predictions across much of Missouri below the Interstate 44 corridor. While some areas still may receive as much as a 3/4-inch accumulation, most cooperative members will see a 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch of ice in the area ranging from Branson to north of Sikeston to south of St. Louis. In the path of this storm are White River Valley Electric, Se-Ma-No Electric, Webster Electric, Howell-Oregon Electric, Intercounty Electric, Black River Electric, Ozark Border Electric, SEMO Electric, Citizens Electric and Crawford Electric cooperatives.

Freezing rain will collect on power lines and trees, and can cause outages if the accumulation is heavy enough. The combination of heavy ice and strong winds are a recipe for extended outages for any electric utility.

“The reduced ice accumulation is encouraging,” said Ron Klein, vice president of operations at Ste. Genevieve-based Citizens Electric, during a conference call between electric cooperative employees and the National Weather Service’s Steve Reynolds. “I would say winds of 30-40 mph are our biggest concern. We are still telling members to be prepared for a multi-day outage. We are not going to back off of that.”

In the early hours of Feb. 1, Intercounty Electric in Licking reported 341 members without power near Cabool in south-central Missouri.

Besides the strong winds and blizzard conditions expected Tuesday afternoon and evening, electric cooperatives are preparing for difficult travel conditions statewide as the National Weather Service is calling for as much as two feet of snow in some areas. While snow does not damage power lines, it does lead to accidents that can cause outages and will lengthen the response time for any outage.

Electric cooperatives are closely monitoring this situation and are prepared for the worst. Despite this preparedness, it is important that cooperative members have a plan in place in the event power is interrupted for an extended period. Information on emergency shelters can be found by calling 211 (or 800-427-4626). For the latest information on how the storm is affecting Missouri’s electric cooperatives visit http://www.amec.coop/IceStormInfoCenter.html

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