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      Electric crews prepare for the winter storm

      Wicked winter weather is on its way back to the Midlands, and local electrical co-op's are prepping for what mother nature has in store.

      WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - Wicked winter weather is on its way back to the Midlands, and local electrical co-op's are prepping for what mother nature has in store.

      "The way the weather is, one place can be hit very hard," said Ashley Johnson, Lost Control and Training Director with the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc. "Temperatures can change just very slighting in degrees, and thirty miles down the road, it can be hit twice as hard."

      Johnson says there could possibly be widespread power outages during this storm.

      Two potential effects from the storm are iced over trees and power lines with more than a half inch of ice on them. Those effects can become a major problem for the electric cooperative.

      "Ice does create a lot of problems with our power systems, because of the weight strains it actually puts on," said Johnson.

      So what should you do if your power happens to go out during the storm?

      First, you should contact your local electric company to report the outage.

      Johnson suggests staying as far away as possible from iced over trees that have fallen on a power line. Just enough ice can cause a tree or its limbs to break and fall on the ground.

      Generators are a popular backup during a power outage, but Johnson says they can become extremely dangerous for workers if it is not installed properly.

      "A great idea would be just using a generator outside to run cords inside to your freezers or refrigerators," added Johnson.