Power lines blown from Humble utility poles as electricity is restored

HUMBLE, Texas (KTRK) -- A brief moment of happiness quickly faded as the lights returned to one neighborhood, only to go dark again in an instant.

An ABC13 viewer in Humble said when the power came back on at their home, the power lines blew right off the poles.

During winter storms, a relatively small amount of ice can lead to big, dangerous problems.

Ice can build up on power lines pretty quick. Just a half-inch can make them 500-pounds heavier, which could cause some big problems.

A half-inch of ice can make tree branches 30-times heavier.

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How did Texas get to the point of prolonged outages during this historic winter storm? In the video, 13 Investigates' Ted Oberg looked back to the system that the state was built on.

Just a light glaze of ice can make sidewalks, driveways and any other hard surfaces slick.
Between a tenth of an inch and a quarter of an inch can coat streets, and any more than that, road conditions will worsen.

"Stay slow, stay off of the highway, and when you are gonna pass a bridge, lay off the gas or put it in neutral and coast," a wrecker driver advised. "No sudden changes between the brake, gas or steering wheel."

If you see a downed power line, stay far away and be sure to follow these tips from Entergy.

Assume all downed lines are energized. They can hurt or kill you, even if they don't spark, hum, or 'dance'. Stay away from anything that the line may touch, like a tree, fence or vehicle.

If you are near a line when it comes down, shuffle with both feet or hop. Don't run. Shuffle your feet together and on the ground. Fight the urge to run, and let others know they should not run. This is because when a live wire touches the surface, electricity can travel in all directions through the ground. If you run instead of hop, you increase the chance of electricity coming up one leg and out the other, and you could be shocked.

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This winter storm is far from over, and it will take everyone's patience to keep each other safe.

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