The Ameren utility companies say they are watching the path of Hurricane Isaac and are preparing to ensure a timely response should the remnants of the storm wreak havoc in Illinois and Missouri.
The National Weather Service at Lincoln reported Wednesday morning that the remnants of the hurricane "will drift through Illinois on Sunday. Rain is expected to spread in from the south on Friday, and continue over much of central and southeast Illinois through most of the holiday weekend, before diminishing from west to east Sunday night."
Rainfall amounts are likely to exceed 2 inches over a large area, the weather service said, with the potential for 3- to 5-inch rainfall totals along a band running southwest to northeast and including Springfield, Decatur, Champaign-Urbana and Danville.
"The Illinois emergency operations center team is always actively monitoring weather conditions," said Richard Mark, president and CEO of Ameren Illinois. "As we learn more about how the remnants of Hurricane Isaac may impact our service territory, we will plan our response accordingly."
"Every weather event is different and unpredictable," said Warner Baxter, president and CEO of Ameren Missouri. "That is why we are proactively taking several measures now to better prepare our customers and co-workers to safely address the potential challenges resulting from this storm."
The last time remnants of a hurricane made its way into Ameren's service territory was Hurricane Ike in September 2008.
Customers are encouraged to create or update a storm kit in preparation of any future storm. Storm kit items could include: emergency telephone numbers, flashlights and fresh batteries, a battery-powered radio, a supply of bottled water, nonperishable foods that don't require heating, a hand-operated can opener, a first-aid kit and medications, an ice cooler for temporary food or medication storage, and blankets, bedding or sleeping bags.
More storm kit tips can be found on Ameren.com at http://www.ameren.com/outageresources/Pages/YourStormKit.aspx.
The most important safety rule, according to the utility, is to stay clear of downed power lines and always call Ameren Illinois at 800-755-5000, or 911 if you see downed lines. Assume all downed power lines are energized. Stay inside, especially at night because you may walk into an energized power line. Stay clear of brush, shrubs and trees that may hide downed lines.