The next ten days are expected to bring prolonged, extremely hazardous cold temperatures to the Flathead Valley.
UPDATE 10:10 a.m. If you are enrolled in automatic outage text messaging, you likely received a text message from your Co-op this morning. The message is legitimate and was sent from your Co-op’s Outage line. Please save this contact in your phone for future outage and emergency communications. (406) 751-4449. Didn’t receive a text message? Get signed up before this weather event here.
The coming days are expected to bring prolonged, extremely hazardous cold temperatures to the Flathead Valley. Preparing your home, your business, your family, and your animals for these temperatures is essential. Although cold temperatures do not generally cause power outages on their own, outages are always a possibility. Cars hit power poles nearly every day, winds blow and trees fall down, and small animals and birds damage electrical connections — anything can happen.
When a power outage occurs during extremely low temperatures, power restoration can be a longer and more challenging process. Your Co-op urges members to ensure that they are as prepared as possible in the event of prolonged power loss during life-threateningly cold temperatures. Here are a few tips:
- Make sure you have an alternate heat source, and keep it prepared, i.e., source and properly store kerosene for your heater; candles; and wood, gas, or pellets for stoves.
- If it is not possible for you to have an alternate heat source, make a plan to go to an alternate location, such as the home of a friend or family member with an alternate heat source.
- Stock up on water for your family and your animals! Whether you buy it bottled or do it yourself, keep in mind that electric water pumps don’t work when the power is out. Store your water supply where it won’t freeze.
- Lay in ready-to-eat food supplies, and remember infant formula and food for your animals.
- Charge up your devices, and put your flashlights, batteries, power banks, lanterns, and radios in an easy-to-access location.
- Top off your gas tank. Most gas stations rely on electricity to operate their pumps, and you might need to use your vehicle as a charging or warming station in an emergency.
- Prepare your home for cold temperatures. Seal drafts, insulate pipes, and install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups on every level of your home.
In the event of a power outage, keep informed by staying in touch with your Co-op:
- The Co-op’s dispatch center is staffed 24/7 to respond to power outages.
- Information about current power outages is typically available on the Co-op’s website, which is fully optimized for mobile device use.
- From the home page, choose the Outage Center.
- Look at the Outage Map to determine if your outage has already been reported or if there is additional information available.
- If you have an outage that isn’t yet visible on the Outage Map, and you’ve checked that the outage is on the Co-op’s side of the meter and not yours, please report your outage in 1 of 3 ways:
- Text OUT to (406) 751-4449. (Make sure you’re enrolled in our Automated Outage Texting service.)
- Report the outage through your My Co-op mobile app or by logging into your online account.
- Call the Co-op at (406) 751-4449. (In a widespread outage situation, you’ll be asked to leave a message while dispatchers work to restore power as safely and quickly as possible.)
- Remember that when large outages occur, sometimes the outage map is not updated in real-time because the Co-op’s dispatchers are focused on prioritizing emergency situations.
- Heading straight to the Co-op’s home page is always the best practice if you have an outage question.
To keep a close eye on the Kalispell forecast, visit: 7-Day Forecast for Latitude 48.2°N and Longitude 114.31°W (noaa.gov).
Stay safe, Co-op members!