MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As a major storm heads towards Minnesota with the possibility of causing power outages, Xcel Energy is increasing employees for the weekend and is offering tips to stay safe.

Xcel Energy says heavy snow, ice and wind can occasionally cause power outages, so more than 250 employees will be available at service centers throughout the metro area, Greater Minnesota, as well as North and South Dakota to restore electric service. Additional crews are on standby throughout the weekend.

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“Like many people, we are monitoring forecasts and preparing for anything this storm may bring,” said Troy Browen, director of control center operations, Xcel Energy. “Heavy wet snow combined with ice and freezing rain can affect power lines, and we want to restore any power outages that may occur as quickly and safely as possible.”

Xcel says customers can report outages via its mobile app, online at xcelenergy.com/out, texting “OUT” to 98936 (or STAT to the same number to check the status of a power outage), and by calling 1-800-895-1999.

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Xcel also offered some safety tips:

– Stay away from downed power lines
– Keep natural gas meters clear
– Build a home emergency kit
– Be cautious when using space heaters
– Observe food safety

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For more information on outages and emergencies, click here.