Winter weather predicted for the end of the week has Missouri's electric cooperatives preparing to repair any weather-related damage to power lines.

Below freezing temperatures are expected to blow into the area overnight Thursday. With the cold air in place, warm and moist air aloft will be moving over us creating mostly freezing rain. There may be some sleet, especially when the precipitation first starts, but freezing rain seems to be the most likely scenario.

With the storm targeting St. Louis and the surrounding areas, Missouri's electrical cooperatives will activate their emergency assistance plan. Under this plan, material and workers from systems not affected by the storm will be sent quickly to assist those in need. These workers will include contractors and tree trimmers.

If necessary, they will also get help from other states to get members back online.

The cooperative has been tracking the storm for days, and extra materials are already on hand for those predicted to be in the path of the storm.

Ameren Missouri confident in its preparedness for ice

A decade ago ice knocked out power to 500,000 people in the St. Louis area over Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 of 2006. It took several days for crews to restore power.

But Ameren Missouri is confident upgrades to its system will prevent similar outages with this impending ice storm.

Ameren says its system can withstand up to a half inch of ice accumulation. And the utility company says 500 year round tree trimmers and a power pole inspections make the system more resilient than it was a decade ago.

Ameren Illinois has installed more than 100 fiberglass power poles in the Metro East. Stronger and more flexible than wooden poles, they are spaced between wooden poles throughout the system to prevent the older poles from dragging others down with them when they fall.

Both Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois stress that downed lines should be considered dangerous and ask people to stay away from any that fall and call their power company for repairs.

To track outages in your area and to get into contact with providers, you can find their websites and contact information below.