Repair crews with Iowa’s largest utility are on alert as a winter storm system that coated parts of Missouri with three-quarters of an inch of ice heads for Iowa. The storm is expected to hit late tonight through Tuesday. Allan Urlis, spokesman for MidAmerican Energy, says an Ice Storm Warning covers a wide area of southern and eastern Iowa, so they’re preparing for the worst.
Urlis says: "We have all of our crews on stand-by and we’re prepared to redeploy crews from central Iowa and other parts of the state over to eastern Iowa if we need to do that. That’s something we do all the time when it comes to getting ready for storms like this."
This storm system has left more than 300,000 customers without power in other states and forecasters say parts of Iowa could get up to one-inch of ice. Urlis says the heavy ice can weigh down tree limbs and cause them to snap off, sometimes knocking down power lines. He warns Iowans to be extremely careful.
"If you come across a line, assume it’s a power line. Assume it’s energized," Urlis says, "stay away from it and report it to MidAmerican Energy or local authorities because safety has to be the top priority in circumstances like that." Touching a downed power line could result in death. Urlis says it’s also vital to report to your utility when your power goes out.
He says, "In circumstances where it looks like there are going to be a lot of customers without power, you may assume someone else in your neighborhood has called if everybody around you has power that is out, but if everyone assumes that someone else has called, MidAmerican Energy might not know about it." The sooner utilities are informed about the problem, the faster repair crews can respond.