HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Winds from Hurricane Sally could result in power outages here in the Pine Belt, and it’s important to be prepared beforehand.
“One thing to keep in mind is not to pay too much attention to the center of the cone. Impacts can extend well beyond the cone,” said Dr. Kim Wood, assistant professor of meteorology at Mississippi State University’s Department of Geosciences.
Hurricane Sally strengthened to a category 2 Monday and is expected to make landfall somewhere between New Orleans and Mobile, putting the Mississippi coast right in its path.
It’s predicted to slow down, which means more rain and longer periods of wind over our area.
“The rains will loosen up the soil and make trees more prone to being blown over by that longer duration of winds, so a concern will be widespread power outages if the winds blow for a while in combination with this heavy rain,” Wood said.
The Dixie Electric Power Association has been preparing for the storm.
If your power happens to go out due to high winds, here’s how the company plans to get your power restored quickly.
“If we have widespread outages, we start at the substations and we follow what’s called ‘three-phase lines,’" said Lydia Walters, communication director for Dixie Electric. "Those are main power lines, those are the lines that you see running along Highway 15 or running alongside Highway 84. They carry the most power out. We get those back on first because they get the most people back on first.”
If you have a backup generator, here are some tips to remember before turning it on.
“First of all, you want it where it’s completely outside. You don’t want the fumes where they can go into your garage or even worse into your home, because that can be very poisonous to your family," Walter said. "You want to hook a portable generator into the item you want to keep running. So, for example, if that’s your refrigerator, you want to plug the refrigerator directly into the generator. Never ever plug that generator into the meter. That can actually back-feed the line and it can injure our linemen.”
Never touch a downed powerline because it could be a live wire.
Here are some tips from Ready.gov for preparing power outages:
- Take an inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity.
- Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.
- Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.
- Sign up for local alerts and warning systems. Monitor weather reports.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home.
- Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last.
- Review the supplies that are available in case of a power outage. Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member. Have enough nonperishable food and water.
- Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so that you can know the temperature when the power is restored. Throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.
- Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tanks full.
Contact your power company if you lose power in your area.
For more tips on what to do during a power outage, visit ready.gov/power-outages.