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Local officials prepare for winter storm

DAILY LEADER / Area utilities are preparing for the winter storm.

Area electric company representatives and the local civil defense director have briefed local officials, and while there is a lot of wait-and-see, crews are on standby and phone lines will be open for utility customers as a winter storm enters the area.

Local Civil Defense director Clifford Galey said weather conditions will worsen after midnight tonight. “Then there will be a winter storm warning from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday,” Galey said. “We are looking at the possibility of ice and snow accumulations of one to three inches.”

Galey said that he, city and county officials do not have any emergency meetings planned at present. “It will depend on weather conditions tomorrow if we will meet,” he said Monday afternoon. “But, if we get the icy conditions that they are saying we will get, people need to be prepared for outages. We ask that people not get out unless it is an absolute emergency.”

Galey said residents should check on their neighbors and those who are vulnerable such as the sick and elderly.

Lucy Shell with Magnolia Electric said their customers can find the latest information on Facebook. She said Pike County civil defense director Richard Coglin met with company officials this morning and emergency crews were placed on standby.

“We had a winter weather meeting at 11 a.m. today,” Shell said Monday. “We are aware of the conditions – we have crews alert to the status of the weather, we are prepared for incoming calls with equipment and men ready to go to work if any problems should arise.”

Magnolia Electric customers may call 601-833-7011 or 601-684-4011 to report outages or obtain information.

In a press release Entergy said the utility is prepared for outages and has extra avenues of communication ready for customers.

“Our crews are prepared, and we’ll begin mobilizing them as needed on Tuesday morning,” said Robbin Jeter, Entergy Mississippi vice president of customer service.

“We anticipate moving crews to our southern Mississippi service area to take care of any weather-related outages. If we don’t have outages here in Mississippi, we’ll likely send crews to help our sister utilities with restoration efforts in southern Louisiana.”

Freezing rain, ice accumulation and wet, heavy snow can pose a significant threat to an electric system.

“While we’re expecting mostly dry snow in our southern service area, we’re prepared for the worst,” said Jeter. “Customers should also prepare for the weather conditions forecast to hit their area.

“We also urge customers to monitor the storm and to call 1-800-9OUTAGE (1-800-968-8243) to report downed or dangling power lines, poles or other damaged equipment,” said Jeter. “As with any storm, safety is always our first priority. Customers should not walk in standing water or venture into areas of debris since power lines that could still be energized and dangerous may not be visible.”

Entergy customer also can download a free Entergy app for iPhone and Android to report outages, view outages throughout the service area, get the latest company information and more.

Or Entergy customers can visit stormcenter.entergy.com/default.aspx for storm-preparedness tips or to view an outages map and other storm-related information.

Entergy customers also can sign up to send and receive outage-related text messages. To use the service, register a cellphone number by texting the message REG to 368374. The system will respond and ask for an Entergy account number and ZIP code.

When storm-related outages do occur, Entergy first restores power to critical service providers, such as hospitals, fire stations and police departments. Next, crews focus on doing the work that will restore the largest numbers of people as quickly as possible, Jeter said.