Spring is a busy time on the meteorological calendar in Texas—peak tornado season and just weeks before hurricane season begins in June. The U.S. counted 22 extreme weather events in 2020, defined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as causing at least $1 billion in damage. Last year, there were 20 such events.
Most spring seasons, Medina Electric Cooperative’s service area may see at least one storm system that includes high winds, heavy rain, tornadoes or hail—who could forget the record-breaking hail that fell in Hondo last spring?
With that in mind, I’d like to share some important ways to stay safe in the event that an extreme storm impacts our system. You might have seen similar safety reminders in this magazine before, but we at Medina EC would rather repeat ourselves if it helps just one family from tragedy.
After last year’s winter and spring storms, many people have invested in a portable generator to ensure power will be available in the event of an outage. Position your generator outdoors and at least 20 feet from your home. Don’t mislead yourself that running a generator in a partially enclosed structure, like an open garage, is safe. Fatal levels of carbon monoxide will build up in those settings too. If your home doesn’t have a carbon monoxide detector, install one. Members interested in installing a portable generator will need to follow the requirements for noncommercial emergency and standby generation, available on our website at MedinaEC.org/Generators.
Generators aren’t the only cause for concern during and after a storm. A large storm system can be damaging and result in broken power poles and downed lines. It’s important to assume any downed line is energized. Report any downed lines to the local police or fire department and your electric utility.
Follow national and local weather reports to know what, if any, storms may be headed your way and the potential effects of the storm. Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare. Make an outage kit that contains a battery-powered radio, fresh batteries, a flashlight, candles, matches, a windup clock, and disposable utensils and plates. It’s also a good idea to keep a stock of canned food and a manual can opener.
Medina EC wants you and your family to be safe while you ride out whatever weather comes our way.
Until next time,