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Xcel works to limit lengthy power outages during spring snowstorm

260 Xcel crew members will be on round-the-clock standby during the weekend snowstorm.

DENVER — A late-season winter storm forecast for the Front Range this weekend has power companies on alert. 

Spring snowstorms are often very damaging to tree limbs. Wet snow is heavier than dry winter snow, and more snow sticks to the branches because the leaves catch and hold onto the snow. 

Falling branches can be hazardous. They can also damage property and bring down powerlines, causing outages and sometimes even fires.  

“We are absolutely ready for this event,” said Kelly Flenniken, director of community relations for Xcel Energy Colorado. “We have about 200 electric distribution team members and about 60 people available on tree maintenance crews, and they’ll be working around the clock during the storm.”

She said Xcel can detect power outages remotely with their network monitoring, but they do appreciate eyewitness reports telling them exactly where a tree has impacted their lines. 

“Really that intelligence that comes from our customers is really helpful as we work to deploy crews in a way that restores that power quickly,” Flenniken said.

She said customers with concerns should call the Xcel emergency hotline at 1-800-895-1999 no matter how late it is, or how hard it's snowing. 

Flenniken said Xcel tree crews have been preparing for this storm for months, as trimming limbs and removing trees is a constant process.

“They work all year round to make sure those clearances are safe and the trees that are hazardous are dealt with," she said. "So they’re a busy team.”

RELATED: Winter Storm Warning issued for Denver metro area ahead of damaging snowstorm

She said their tree maintenance crews stick to a schedule that eventually mitigates all properties under their powerlines, but if a customer has a concern about a tree or limb that may soon impact Xcel lines, she encourages them get in contact with someone at Xcel.

As part of the Winter Storm Warning issued for much of the Front Range, the National Weather Service is asking people not to park or walk under snow-covered trees during this storm.

RELATED: How to protect your plants from Colorado's incoming cold snap

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