Winter storm prep: We Energies, residents planning for the worst

We Energies and other utility companies are already preparing for snow and wind-caused outages from a winter storm expected to arrive Thursday, Dec. 22.

Before flurries fall and winds whip across the area, the work to keep the lights on starts now to ensure every We Energies truck, employee and crew is ready to go – even on the holidays.

"It's a difficult weekend if your power does go out, and we realize that. Just know that we are here. We are ready to help, and we will be there for you," said We Energies' Amy Jahns.

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The winter storm is expected to bring several inches of snow and older temperatures to southeastern Wisconsin. It is the wind – forecasted gusts between 50 and 60 mph – that has We Energies preparing for the worst. Some homes could lose power.

"That can cause a lot of tree branches and trees to come down into our equipment, but also, those blizzard-like conditions could delay us getting to those power outages, because we want to make sure that our crews are safe getting to those as well," Jahns said.

We Energies

And the preparations don't stop with professionals. Julie Ahrenholz and her neighbors already care for each other. 

"I think we're gonna get hit this time," said Ahrenholz. 

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With tree branches hanging around power lines on Lawn Avenue, Ahrenholz said she'll be paying close attention to her elderly neighbors upstairs.

"Make sure they have everything that they need, that they're staying warm, not that they think they can ride it out until We Energies comes and fixes it, because by the time you develop hypothermia, it's going to be too late. It sets in fast," she said.

We Energies

We Energies told FOX6 News it has already called other energy companies to see what help may be available if needed. The utility provider is not waiting to get the message out, knowing just how dangerous the weekend could be.

If you haven't already, now is a good time to assemble an emergency kit. We Energies advises having flashlights with batteries, blankets, bottle water and a portable charger to use for your phone in case you lose power. The utility provider has additional resources on its website:

Statement from Spectrum on storm preparations:

"Spectrum is preparing for the forecasted winter storm by making sure our local Wisconsin crews are ready to respond to any problems or outages this storm brings us. We are a 24/7/365 operation with teams who continuously monitor the status of our network. We have technicians staffed across the state who are able to make network repairs as quickly and safely as possible to restore our customers’ services, if necessary following a weather event."