Bundle up and prepare for arctic cold snap set to bring snow, wind and prolonged freeze

February 11, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. — An arctic air mass slipping down on the Pacific Northwest is forecast to  bring significant snow, wind and ice as it drops temperatures into the single digits in Eastern Oregon and Washington and into the teens west of the Cascade Range.

That is the coldest temperatures seen in the last 12 months and Pacific Power urges customers throughout the region to take precautions by resupplying emergency kits, fully charging devices, check that heating systems are in good shape, plug drafts, and cover outdoor faucets. Pacific Power crews are at the ready to respond as needed in the region should storm-related outages occur.

“Cold snaps often involve snow, wind and ice, all of which can cause outages,” said Allen Berreth, vice president of operations. “We appreciate the patience that customers always show during these storms and we want to remind everyone to stay warm and safe, check on family and neighbors who may need assistance and stay clear of any down lines you see. Assume they are live and dangerous and give us a call to report them.”

Pacific Power encourages customers to report outages through our online outage map, free mobile app, by calling 1-877-508-5088 or texting OUT to 722797. Text STAT to 722797 to check the status of an outage.

Pacific Power suggests the following tips and safety precautions:

  • Stay away from all downed power lines and utility lines. Even if the lines are not sparking, they could be energized and extremely dangerous. Call 911 and report the outage to Pacific Power at 1-877-508-5088.
  • Don’t drive over downed power lines.
  • Preserve body heat by wearing multiple layers of clothing. Add a hat and blanket to stay warm. Blankets and towels around windows and doors help keep the heat in.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially those who may need special assistance.
  • Protect your pipes during freezing weather by wrapping them with insulation. Also, leave faucets dripping so water won’t freeze and crack the pipes.
  • Stop drafts. Plastic sheeting can help with windows. Caulk gaps if you have time. Towels or blankets can help keep out the cold at the bottoms of doors.
  • Maintain safe distances from utility workers. Repair work is being done under our COVID-19 safety protocols. Waves and acknowledgement are welcome, but please allow crews to do their work at an appropriate distance both for operational and COVID-19 safety.
  • Keep mobile devices charged to use in an emergency. Before an outage occurs, download the Pacific Power app to your smart device so you can have information readily available.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Remember your pets! Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy.
  • If you are using alternate heat or cooking sources, remember to allow plenty of ventilation. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors.
  • If you are using a generator, make sure to follow all manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure the generator is outside and not near any household air intakes. Do not connect the generator directly to your breaker box as this can create a dangerous situation for crews working on the powerlines. Instead, plug essential appliances directly into the generator.