Can a Power Line Gallop?

November 1st, 2018
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Galloping lines can occur when high winds and freezing rain create ice build-up on transmission lines.

When high winds combine with freezing rain and ice build-up on transmission lines, it can cause a phenomenon known as “galloping”. The uneven ice layer changes the airflow over the normally round, aerodynamic wire (or conductor), and can cause the line to start swaying and bouncing up and down. The movement of the conductor resembles a skipping rope or galloping motion. If a galloping conductor gets close enough to another energized wire, it can cause arcing or a fault, or it could lead to damage causing a power outage.

If you see galloping transmission lines, don’t go near them. There are potential safety hazards, such as falling ice or energized lines coming loose.