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Posted: Tuesday, 28 January 2014 8:24PM

Entergy: Storm delivers ''gentler blow''

Entergy officials say the winter storm didn't hit the power grid as hard as first feared.

"The weather struck a much gentler blow to the Entergy utility system than expected Tuesday, so far causing isolated power outages across our service territory. Entergy crews responded to scattered outages throughout Tuesday, restoring power to the majority of customers within a couple of hours.  While the initial stages of the winter storm did not cause significant damage to the Entergy utility system, the storm system is still passing across South Louisiana," the utility said in a news release.  "Crews will remain on alert as the winter weather system continues to move through the region."

Forecasters had warned of a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of ice.

"It now appears that ice accumulations could be in the range of 1/8 to 1/4 inch in southeast Louisiana," Entergy said.

While noting that impacts appeared less severe than forecast, Entergy insisted crews remain prepared to respond if needed.

"If weather conditions take a turn for the worst Tuesday night and Wednesday, it could take up to three to five days to restore power for some customers in the hardest hit areas in a worst-case scenario."

The utility provided the following guide to impact on the grid:

At 1/8 inch of freezing rain accumulation, small limbs and lines become coated and can cause isolated outages by breaking the weakest limbs that are overhanging services and lines.

At 1/4 inch of freezing rain accumulation, more limbs and lines become coated, causing similar, but somewhat more widespread outages to the distribution system. Younger evergreen trees will start to become so heavy that they may lean into the distribution lines, causing more outages.


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