This spring storm of 2013 is proving to be very destructive.  Thousands of people in Sioux Falls and the surrounding area have been and continue to be without power.  These outages are largely due to downed trees and tree limbs as a result of this winter storms ice and high winds.  These pictures were taken in Sioux Falls Tuesday morning.  As I was driving around town Tuesday people were trying to get their driveways cleared of debris even as branches and trees continued to fall.  With more bad weather on the way there is no telling just how bad this storms impact will be on people and property.

If you do experience a power outage or if you would like to receive outage information or restoration estimates, customers are asked to call Xcel Energy's outage line 1-800-895-1999.

Below are some safety tips to assist customers during an outage:

• If you spot a downed power line, keep away and call us immediately at 1-800-895-4999. All downed power lines, even if they're not moving or sparking, are dangerous and should never be approached.

• Establish a backup-power or temporary relocation plan if someone in your home is dependent on electric-powered medical equipment.

• Use caution if traffic lights and railroad crossing signals are not operating.

• Check on elderly neighbors or relatives.

• Remember household pets during outages. Do you have an electric fish-tank pump or invisible fencing?

• Do not forget your home security alarm system when an outage occurs. Do you have instructions on how to reset it when power resumes?

• Turn off major appliances that were running when the outage occurred to help avoid a sudden surge of power when service is restored.

• Protect your computer from power surges with proper electrical hook-ups.

• Have a battery back-up for your computer for use during outages.

• If you work out of your home, ensure you have power, lighting and safety options available during an outage.

Be safe and stay warm!