Crews Battle Spring Storm
April 09, 2013 9:30 PM
This storm is a nightmare for power companies, the heavy ice and falling tree branches are snapping power lines all over the Sioux Empire.
Earlier this evening Xcel Energy reported more than 17,000 customers without power, Sioux Valley Electric has worked to get 700 customers back online and other power companies are also dealing with outages.
If you haven’t had a power outage, changes are you could still experience one as conditions get worse.
City officials throughout the Sioux Empire have teamed up to tackle this storm with response efforts, while at the same time preparing for what's yet to come.
"We're expecting to get worse," said Sideras.
Sioux Falls Fire Chief Jim Sideras, said city responders have four objectives to follow as the storm sweeps through the area, to clear roadways of debris, restore electrical service, prepare for freezing rain and storm to come and to continue to inform the public.
"Trees will be potentially falling on power lines. If you have power lines falling across your car, call 911 but don't try to remove them," said Sideras.
Public Works Director Mark Cotter said as we prepare for more freezing rain and potentially snow, the city is also asking people to remove their cars from being parked in the street.
"With the amount of snow that's expected and branches it will allow us to clear those streets faster and restore travel," said Cotter.
If officials declare a snow alert, the well-debated snow gates will not hit the streets this time.
"With the branches in the street to not compromise the operation or the use of the snow gates," said Cotter.
With a winter weather warnings in effect and a storm creating visible damage to the area, Mayor Mike Huether said this is just the beginning to the 72-hour-storm.
"Need you stay patient, need you to stay safe and truly stay tuned. We need to hunker down, this one is going to last a while," said Huether.
City leaders have asked people to remove small branches from streets to clear roadways for traffic, and if you have a truck, you can haul larger branches to two drop off locations in the city, one at the Street Department on Chambers and the other at the Sioux Empire Fairgrounds.