Your guide to preparing for winter storms

winter storm guide

While we monitor the weather and inform you about expected impacts, sometimes storms move quickly and without much warning.

Use this guide to help you prepare for winter storms before they hit and keep it as a reference for the next time snow and ice are in the forecast.

Prepare your house

Take the following steps to help your home better withstand cold weather:

  • Use caulk to seal gaps around your doors and windows to keep cold air from entering your home.
  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, stock up on dry firewood to keep you warm.
  • Similarly, if you have a generator, make sure you have enough fuel to keep it in operation if needed and refresh yourself on the instructions for safe use.
  • When snow and ice are in the forecast, put down sand on your outdoor walkways before the winter weather arrives to help prevent dangerous falls.

Only use emergency heat when true emergency

Stay informed

As your cooperative, part of our job is to keep you updated on outages. During winter storms, you can get the latest information from us in these ways:

  • Text outage alerts Take the time right now to sign up for outage notifications by texting “pemc” to 800.222.3107. Then text “#out” to report an outage and “#update” for an update on the progress of your outage.
  • Social Media Follow our Facebook and Twitter profiles for updates: @PiedmontEMC
  • Website Visit our website at pemc.coop where the latest updates will be posted.
  • Online outage map Our map shows all the affected areas throughout our service territory and is updated in real time. You can bookmark http://outageviewer.pemc.org:88/ on your phone’s web browser so you’ll always have the information when you need it most.

Make an emergency supply kit

Take time now to prepare an emergency supply kit that can be accessed quickly. We recommend including the following items:

  • Three-day supply of nonperishable food
  • Water: one gallon per person, per day
  • Important prescription medicines
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Dry chemical fire extinguisher
  • Battery-powered radio
  • First aid kit
  • Blankets
  • Matches
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Shovel and sand

remember to replace items after using

How does power get restored after a winter storm?

Did you know that it’s more difficult to restore power during a winter storm than it is in the summer? That’s because snow and ice on branches and power lines often freeze, melt and then refreeze which can cause additional issues. Plus, snow and ice can make it difficult for linemen to navigate to areas that need to be serviced.

It’s a tough job, but our linemen are well-equipped to get it done! Here’s how they do it:

  • They first work with our dispatch center to locate the problem causing the outage. When members report their outages, it helps our dispatch center narrow in on the exact location of the issue. Once our linemen are on the scene, they are ready to repair any issue from removing trees on the lines to replacing entire poles.
  • We always work to restore power to the most members in the shortest amount of time. Typically, this means that we will work on solving problems at affected substations before moving on to issues on our distribution lines which carry electricity from the substation to our members.

We appreciate your patience during outages as our staff works hard to bring power back to your homes.

Ways to report an outage