What to do when power goes out during freezing cold snap

Jan 17, 2024, 5:09 PM | Updated: 5:16 pm

Two men with Rocky Mountain Power work on a power outage. In the article, an expert discusses how t...

FILE -- Rocky Mountain Power workers restore power. (Tom Smart/Deseret News)

(Tom Smart/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s freezing outside and the power goes out. You’re in the dark. Now what?

Snow keeps falling and falling, blanketing northern Utah, delaying school start times in Ogden and halting air traffic in Salt Lake City.

About 50 flights incoming and outgoing were delayed on Wednesday due to the winter weather Big Cottonwood Canyon closed due to the wintry weather too, but later reopened to alternating traffic.

‘Be Ready’ for emergencies

Are you prepared to face a power outage while stuck inside during freezing outdoor temperatures? As of 10 a.m. Jan. 17, more than 1,400 residents in Salt Lake County were without power, according to The Spectrum.

Wade Mathews with Be Ready Utah said there are many ways to say warm when the power cuts out during a wintry blast.


But safety is his first concern. If you want to use a gas generator, he suggests placing it 20 feet away from your house. The problem is the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning.

“With the exhaust directed away from the house,” Mathews said.

And don’t use gas appliances like an oven, stove or dryer to heat your home, he said.

Make a small space warm

Mathews suggests creating a warm room in the house where everyone can gather. He said the best warm rooms are on the highest level of the house and have low ceilings. Also, south-facing rooms catch direct sunlight and can heat a room.

“Keep the windows clear and clean during the day so you get as much sunlight in as possible,” he said. “Insulate those windows with clear plastic, cover them with curtains or blankets at night to add an extra layer of insulation.”

Get cozy with the family by putting up a tent or fashion a blanket “fort,” so everyone sleeps in the same warm space, Mathews said.

“Make some fun out of it,” he said.

Be Ready Utah recommends eating high-calorie foods and staying hydrated to generate heat from your metabolism, which breaks down food into energy. When possible, eat hot and simple-to-prepare meals.

One last tip involves a drip

Mathews reminds homeowners to let their pipes drip during a power outage so they don’t freeze.

“Especially at night, just open all the faucets to a little trickle so the water runs to keep your pipes from freezing.”

Related: Weather delaying school start times Wednesday morning


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What to do when power goes out during freezing cold snap