Confidence is increasing that a significant winter storm system with potential for ice will impact the Lake area region from Thursday night through the weekend.

Confidence is increasing that a significant winter storm system with potential for ice will impact the Lake area region from Thursday night through the weekend.

According to the National Weather Service in Springfield, there will be the potential for rain and freezing rain for parts of the area. Although, there still is considerable uncertainty continues regarding the future forecast and more should be known by tomorrow.

Camden County Emergency Management Ron Gentry said while his office is preparing for a possible storm, it will be late Wednesday before there's an accurate forecast. 

In the meantime, Gentry said his office is in the process of tracking down possible warming shelters for Camden County residents who might find themselves without power, working with the Red Cross in case a need arises for emergency supplies and checking to make sure agencies that will need to be operational have what they need to continue to function. 

If the lake area is hit with a significant weather event that produces dangerous icing conditions, Gentry said emergency response agencies will work together to ensure public safety. 

The emergency management office will be available for residents who need help coping with the weather. Residents can call 573 346 7108 or 573 317-6239.

Gentry did caution the public that if they have a medical emergency or need law enforcement to call 911. 

Co-Mo Electric Cooperative Communications Manager Ryan Cornelius said electricity providers are monitoring weather forecasts and advised customers to do the same.

“We’re always kind of in a state of preparedness. Our engineer and operations departments are constantly in communication, bouncing ideas off each other, and how’d we react in certain situations.” Cornelius said. “We do want our members to keep an eye out and to maintain a certain level of preparedness.”

The worst case scenario would be a winter storm causing outages from infrastructure damage for more than a day. Cornelius said there’s a huge difference between a tenth of an inch of ice, which makes roads slippery, and two to three inches of ice, which could damage key electric infrastructure.

“If you get an inch or two inches of ice on power lines it adds significant amount of weight on the line, it could break the line or the poles,” Cornelius said. “We also worry about trees falling into power lines, but we do a quite of bit of adjustments trimming the branches out of the right of the way. There’s always a potential for old or dead trees to fall over during a severe storm.”

However, Cornelius was quick to reiterate that forecasts are still questionable and the company will take a ‘wait-and-see’ approach to this weekend.

“Keep an eye on the forecast, make sure you got all your necessities for a few days,” Cornelius said. “And never, never go near a downed power line. If someone see’s a downed line, regardless if it’s your provider, they need to call the utility and call the local authorities.”