There were more than 200 different power outages in Omaha Public Power District’s service area of 13 counties in eastern Nebraska this morning. The culprit is the wind. Gusts of up to 60 mph have been reported and crews are heading out in the bitter cold to get the power back on. Spokesperson Ryan Mayberry says linemen wear very heaving clothing and rubber gloves to fight the cold.
Mayberry says, “The two-fold deal is you are wearing lots of clothes so it is hard to move around in the first place. A lot of what the guys do, they do it in high-voltage rubber gloves that are very stiff and thick in the first place to protect them against the voltage and you put the cold on top of it, it is really cold to move your fingers at all. You throw the wind in on top of it. There are limitations from the manufacturers on bucket trucks and how much wind they can go up in. Forty miles per hour is kind of the break point there.”
That means linemen are tackling the outages the old fashioned way. They are climbing poles wearing harnesses. Mayberry says they are working 40 feet up, clinging to a pole. He says climbing a pole in the middle of summer is hard work but climbing a pole in the winter with ice sticking two it in heavy clothes makes it that much more difficult.
Those who come across downed power lines should always assume they are live and dangerous. They recommend stay back and call 911.