Winter Weather Will Bring Dangers Of Downed Powerlines

As winter approaches, Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) wants to remind people of the dangers of downed powerlines. Winter storms can bring a few different threats to powerlines including galloping, downed, and floating wires.

Galloping wires occur when high winds force two adjacent power lines to hit each other, which may cause an outage. Floating wires consist of power lines that have been broken and are blowing in the wind or are not long enough to contact the ground.

“If anyone comes upon a powerline down on the ground or blowing in the wind, they should stay clear of the area and notify their local power provider immediately,” says NPPD Vice President of Energy Delivery Art Wiese. “Broken power lines can have an electrical charge and are very dangerous if not handled professionally. They not only carry an electrical charge but can electrically charge any objects they are touching or even the ground around where a broken powerline is laying.”

If a broken power line is lying across a roadway, motorists should not try to drive over the line or move it from the roadway. This could result in serious injury. If a powerline were to fall on top of a driver’s vehicle, the occupants should remain inside, call for help, and wait for a professional to de-energize the line.

If the occupants are forced to leave the vehicle because of a fire or other emergency, get to the edge of your vehicle and jump away from the vehicle, landing on two feet and never touching the ground and vehicle at the same time. Then shuffle your feet to move away from the area.

Some residents may want to use a generator or grill to power their house or cook during a power outage. These should never be run or operated in an enclosed area, such as a garage, to avoid any potential for carbon monoxide poisoning. If having a generator installed, make sure it is done by a licensed professional to ensure its safe operation.

NPPD customers can call 1-877-ASK-NPPD or go to to report an outage or damaged power line.