Sunday's snow was heavy wet flakes that caused power lines to buckle. Late Monday afternoon about 2,000 customers were still without power. That number is a far cry from the height of the big snow Sunday when more than 50,000 customers in Douglas and Sarpy County were without power.
OPPD has a 5,000 square mile territory that they supply power to. Officials say even though this first snowfall was unexpected, they have crews ready to mobilize at any time in the event of an outage.
Jodi Baker with OPPD says snow sticking around after Sunday’s fall was unexpected for their crews. “What all the forecasts seemed to indicate was that maybe we would see a little snow, something that would melt on contact, so something that was wet and heavy and stuck around and clung to those leaves on tree branches that was a bit unexpected,” she said.
Baker said any time you see snowfall in October dealing with power outages is going to be problematic. “We get out crews mobilized right away, we're always ready for outages because they can always happen,” she said. Over 50,000 customers lost power Sunday. “With this power has being knocked out by all this cold weather and this ice and I’m just trying to stay warm,” said Omaha resident, Boston George. Some are still waiting for theirs to turn back on. “Today we're at the point where we are in the home stretch with more tedious, more lengthy repairs, restoring fewer numbers of customers,” said Baker.
Year-round OPPD works with forestry experts to trim trees away from power lines but it’s impossible to prevent power outages completely. Baker says to prepare for a power outage people should make sure to keep freezers extra full of food and ice bags to keep as much cold in to protect food and says if you are using generators or space heaters, use them safely so they don't turn into a fire hazard. One resident was grateful that his power was restored quickly -- but had a back-up in case. “I was watching Hulu all night, we had a generator, I’m, not worried about that,” said George.
Baker says OPPD expects to have 99% of customers who lost power restored by midnight Monday.