Winter hit Steelville hard over the past week, with ice hitting the area last week, then frigid temperatures and snow over the weekend and into Monday. Although the sun was out Tuesday morning, temperatures were at just one degree at 9:30 a.m. and more snow is in the forecast for Wednesday.
The subzero temperatures cause concern for electrical shortages, with both the city of Steelville and Crawford Electric Cooperative urging consumers to reduce usage.
On Monday, the city posted an energy alert on its Facebook page, noting, “The extreme cold weather leads to electric supply and demand issues. Please help!” The post included the following tips for residential energy efficiency and ways to save on heating bills:
• Wear layers of clothing and use extra blankets.
• Set thermostat settings at 68 degrees. However, customers who are elderly or have medical conditions should not lower their thermostat.
• Lock doors and windows for a better seal. For drafty windows, close storm windows and consider closing the shades for extra insulation.
• Don’t block heating vents with furniture, curtains or rugs.
• Close fireplace damper when not in use.
• Roll up a towel to put at the bottom of a leaky door to keep the drafts at bay.
• Turn off all nonessential lights.
• Postpone all nonessential energy use.
• Turn off and unplug computers, monitors, chargers, printers and TVs when not in use.
The city also shared the following post from Crawford Electric Cooperative on Monday:
“Members, your help is needed! Subzero temps are stressing the interconnected power-supply network across the U.S. There is an urgent need to reduce electricity use. Please do your part! Turn your thermostat down to 68 degrees or lower—use layered clothing and blankets to conserve heat. Avoid using larger appliances like laundry or dishwashers. Unplug appliances not in use. By voluntarily reducing electricity use we hope to be able to avoid the rolling blackouts that are occurring in other areas.”
On Monday evening, the Coop also texted members the following alert: “Subzero temps are stressing the network. Please reduce your electricity consumption as much as you can.”
The Coop posted again on Facebook on Tuesday morning, noting, “Subzero temps continue to stress the electric grid across the country. Just this morning, we were within 30 minutes of a required load shed. Your conservation efforts are helping! Please continue to do your part to lessen the load—thermostat at 68 degrees or lower, using layering and blankets to retain heat; avoid using larger appliances like laundry or dishwashers. These measures will be needed all day today (Tuesday) and into Wednesday, or as long as this record-setting cold snap continues.”
Steelville Schools are not in session. School was released early on Monday, February 8 as a result of incoming winter weather and students have not been back to school since then. In Superintendent Mike Whittaker’s email to parents on Sunday evening, February 14, he said, “School has been cancelled for tomorrow, Monday, February 15, 2021. It looks like it's going to be one of those weeks!” On Monday afternoon, he noted the cancelation for Tuesday the 16th was due to “poor road conditions, the snow, the cold temperatures and the blustery winds.”
Crawford County Commissioners postponed their regularly scheduled Tuesday morning meeting to Wednesday, February 17 at 10 a.m., weather permitting.
City Hall was closed in Steelville on Tuesday, February 16 as a result of the weather and the city council meeting scheduled for that evening was postponed to Monday, February 22.