Steve Smith

The snow is on its way, perhaps in amounts the area hasn’t seen in several years.

The Denver area could see up to 2 feet of snow by March 15. Areas west of town could see more.

The threat of such accumulations caused Aims Community College to close its campuses Saturday, March 13, and Sunday, March 14. It also caused a delay in the quarterfinal round of the condensed boys and girls basketball tournaments.

It’s also why United Power, the Brighton-based power coop, is encouraging people to be storm ready.

“United Power has cooperative crews and contract crews on call and ready to respond throughout the storm. The utility is preparing trucks for winter driving conditions and stocking supplies to ensure we are ready to respond,” said Brent Sydow, operations manager, in a press statement. “Our crews in Coal Creek, Carbon Valley and Brighton are ready to tackle what this storm may bring to keep the lights on for our members. We thank them in advance for their support.”

The Colorado Department of Transportation asked people to stay off the roads and not travel this weekend. If it’s absolutely necessary to hit the roads, officials suggest taking winter driving essentials driving carefully.

“Be aware that road conditions, low visibility and road closures may slow utility response,” said a press sttement from United Power. “Rest assured the utility will be responding with as many crews, and as quickly, as is safely possible.”

The Red Cross says if you are stranded in a blizzard, stay in your car and wait for help.  Tie a bright cloth on your radio antenna. Run the engine 10 minutes per hour with the heater on, and keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow.

The coop also suggested preparations for possible disruptions to service:

• Have a back-up plan to keep medical equipment powered during an outage. Charge extra batteries now, and plan ahead to protect your loved ones who rely on electricity to power their medical devices. Learn more at www.unitedpower.com/medical-devices.

  • Fully charge your phone, tablet and laptop batteries to ensure you can maintain communication in an emergency.
  • Ensure you have the essentials to keep your family safe and warm if you must shelter in place. Find helpful safety tips for Winter Weather Preparedness from the Red Cross at www.unitedpower.com.

Report power outages

Members can help United Power restore power as quickly as possible by reporting outages. There are several ways to report an outage and stay updated, according to a press release.

  • Download the United Power mobile app, or set up your account on United Power’s billing and payment portal. Members can quickly report a power outage to our system operators without encountering a busy signal if our phone lines are overwhelmed. www.unitedpower.com/myaccount
  • Call 303-637-1350 and report your outage through the automated system. In a widespread outage, phone lines may be busy.
  • Details are posted on United Power’s outage map as information becomes available from the field and widespread outage updates will be posted on our website. Monitor outages at www.unitedpower.com/outagemap, or www.unitedpower.com.

The coop also offered some safety reminders:

  • Stay away from downed powerlines. Always assume a downed line is energized and never attempt to remove trees or debris from powerlines.
  • Use generators safely. If you plan to use a generator in the event of an outage, please remember the safe operation to protect your family, and any crews that may be working on the line. Learn more: www.unitedpower.com/generator-safety.
  • Observe food safety. In an outage, remember to keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A full freezer can maintain freezing temperatures longer when doors remained closed. Follow USDA guidance on freezer and food temperatures.

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