Today’s snow storm is keeping Eugene Water & Electric Board busy today, with more than 11,100 customers without service out of 92,600 as of publication, according to a press release from EWEB spokesperson Joe Harwood.
The power loss is the result of “widespread damage to the Eugene Water & Electric Board’s distribution system” from heavy snowfall.
The heavy snowfall brought trees and branches down onto overhead power lines and damaged power poles. Trees and branches are expected to continue falling throughout the afternoon due to saturated soil and accumulated snow, states EWEB.
“Safety is our first priority in any prolonged outage. Residents should stay indoors to avoid downed power lines and falling trees and branches. Please remember that trees, branches, water/puddles and fences can all conduct electricity,” states the release.
EWEB has dispatched repair crews to restore power to major lines as of 11 a.m, but the board warns Eugene-area customers that the outages could last for “a few days.”
The greatest amount of tree damage occurred to the east in the McKenzie River Valley, where customers could be without service for several days due to “devastating” tree damage.
Service disruptions can be reported by calling 1-844-484-2300 or by texting OUT to TXEWEB (893932). EWEB has asked that customers report any and all outages to help repair efforts. The board has also recommended stocking up on food and other supplies. A list of suggested supplies can be found here.
The Eugene Police Department has warned anyone who can stay home to do so, due to “extremely dangerous travel conditions.” For those who need to drive, EPD recommends driving slowly and cautiously, as well as turning on headlights.
A handful of locations in Eugene and Springfield have been opened for the day as warming centers for those without power, according to a notice from the official Eugene website, including the First Christian Church, Ebbert United Methodist Church, First United Methodist Church and the St. Vincent De Paul’s Lindholm Center.
The Egan Warming Center will open tonight as well as Tuesday night, states the notice.
The Emerald has reached out to UO to determine if UO campus has had power outages. This story is developing and will be updated when new information becomes available.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article misspelled EWEB spokesperson Joe Harwood's name.