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'This Is Just Unprecedented': Homeowners, Power Companies Prepare For Winter Storm

By WCCO Reporter Adam Duxter

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Energy providers are warning Minnesotans to prepare ahead of Wednesday's storms, which pose the risk for potential widespread outages.

Crews with Xcel Energy, which provides energy for 1.3 million customers statewide, say they've got crews on standby throughout the state.

"This is what we do," said John Marshall, Xcel Energy regional vice president. "We keep this system operating 24/7. We are really appreciative of our customers if they do experience an outage, just know that the women and men of Xcel, the field crews, are out there working in safe conditions to try to get that power back on as quickly as possible."

Marshall says customers who do experience outages can text OUT to 98936 to report an outage, or text STAT to the same number to check the status of an outage. In addition, he says customers can call 1-800-895-1999 to report an outage.

Powerline in Winter
(credit: CBS)

In Minneapolis' southwest neighborhoods, homeowners prepared for the worst Wednesday afternoon.

"I've got my stuff on the porch tied down, so hopefully that stays up there," said homeowner Aaron Dush. "The deer in the front yard, they're staked in, but I might have to kind of reinforce those a bit."

Dush, who moved to Minnesota less than two years ago, says he never thought preparing for a winter storm could include the risk of a tornado.

"When we moved, everybody said, 'You know how cold it is there? You know how much snow they get?' But nobody mentioned any tornadoes," he said.

Marshall says homeowners can best prepare by keeping cellphones charged, as well as keeping around a flashlight with extra batteries.

While homeowners in Minneapolis say they're preparing as best they can, many say it's still odd to be preparing for a storm of this type during December.

"This is unprecedented, so I'm not sure what to say to people," said Jennifer LaForgia of St. Louis Park. "It's just so bewildering what's happening with the weather."

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