Winter weather preparations since 2009 ice storm - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Winter weather preparations since 2009 ice storm

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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - According to the National Weather Service, a severe winter storm could hit parts of Region 8 Thursday.

This storm could mirror the one back in 2009 that left many with no power for almost a month.

Power companies are looking at their grids to make sure they will hold in the event of another ice storm.

City Water and Light, Craighead Electric Cooperative Corporation and Entergy said they have their entire arsenals are ready to go.

"We plan for the worst and hope for the best," Justin Etter with Craighead Electric said. "We have everything we need to get power back on to the people."

Since 2009, Etter said the company has purchased newer pieces of equipment, more trucks, an ample supply of power lines and poles, and more independent contractors.

"These poles and lines that are in there now are fairly new, you know, four to five years old," Etter said. "But Mother Nature can be pretty brutal sometimes. It'll have to be a pretty fierce storm, but anything can happen. I've seen ice do a lot of damaging things."

Etter said he has lived in Jonesboro his entire life and has not seen anything like the 2009 storm.

"Very devastating for the community. It had a great impact. Everybody was affected by it," Etter said.

Etter said Craighead Electric had to replace more than 8,000 poles and 1,000 miles of line.

"People are used to their power and so when they don't have it, it can get a little crazy and hectic at times," Etter said. 

Etter said the 2009 storm made the company more prepared for future ones, like the one this week.

"Hopefully it's not gonna be as bad as 2009, but nobody thought 2009 was gonna be as bad as it was. We're just gonna hope it's not as bad as that and if it is, we'll be ready to take it on," Etter said. 

Kevin Imboden with City Water and Light said staff members have stocked utility trucks and crews will work around the clock if this winter storm hits. 

Imboden said City Water and Light employees have learned from the 2009 storm. They have brought in more outside help and split the city into sections to make it easier to service.  

Russell Harris with Entergy said the company also plans to utilize more outside resources and cancel employees' vacations this week, if needed.

Harris said Entergy employees have already conducted storm drills in preparation for winter to make sure they can restore power as quickly and safely as possible.

Here are helpful links if the storm hits:

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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