Ice, snow possible for weekend

Published 9:02 pm Friday, January 7, 2011

The Chamber of Commerce and hill was covered in snow in February 2010. Greenville was hit hard by a winter storm that month. Officials don’t expect central Alabama to see much snow this weekend, but are taking precautions.

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency is closely monitoring the potential for snow and freezing rain this weekend. With the threat for severe weather, residents need to ensure they have their family emergency kits stocked, stay aware of changing road conditions and informed of their local forecast.

According to the Birmingham office of the National Weather Service, some Alabama counties have the potential for snow accumulation with other counties experiencing a dusting and the potential of ice. The wintry precipitation could start as early as Sunday and last through Monday night. Butler County and the surrounding area could be impacted by icy roads and a mix of rain and snow.

“It is really important for Alabama residents to take this threat of severe weather serious, freezing weather over an extended period of time has the potential to cause power outages and an interruption in communication services,” said Alabama EMA Director Brock Long.

Pioneer Electric Cooperative will have field crews on stand-by in case of power loss, said Jason Settle, Vice-President of Engineering and Operations.

“Our members are encouraged to prepare for the possibility of outages and for those using generators and other heat sources,  use them in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions,” said Settle.  “Ice is a huge problem for our power lines, it can weigh the lines down and cause outages.  If you see a downed power line, please do not touch or attempt to move it. Please allow our experienced crews to remove all power lines.”

Pioneer Electric has a comprehensive storm plan that allows it to quickly mobilize crews and equipment to respond to storm-related outages, redeploying company and contractor crews within its service area on short notice to focus extra resources in affected areas, the company stated in a release, and Pioneer can also request assistance from other electric utility companies as part of mutual aid agreements.

Members may call Pioneer’s outage line 24 hours a day to report a power outage, downed line or other power emergency at 1-800-533-0323. Updated outage information is also available at www.pioneerelectric.com.

Alabama state troopers also encouraged all motorists to drive with extreme caution and to avoid roadways when weather conditions are prohibitive.