Winter storm Nemo, expected to be a historic blizzard for the Northeast, is going to slam into one of the most populated regions of the country tonight, causing problems for travel, property damage, and perhaps most importantly, electricity.
Most of the Northeast remains under a winter storm warning this morning; a winter weather advisory is implemented in Western Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey; and blizzard warnings are in effect for the eastern portions of Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts; and all of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Long Island. The Northeast is preparing for Nemo at a time when most of the area is still recuperating from the devastation Hurricane Sandy caused in October of 2012. Boston and New York could see up to 3 feet of snow.
Nemo is predicted to bring hurricane force winds of 70mph or more to parts of the Northeast by this afternoon. People in New England are being urged to be home by lunch, as whiteout conditions are expected to make travel impossible. Due to blowing snow, travel could be disrupted for days and officials are urging residents to remain home. The reliability of the electric grid is paramount to ensure people have adequate heat and power to withstand the weather.
PSEG is one utility gearing up for action in anticipation of Winter Storm Nemo. New Jersey’s largest electric utility is monitoring the weather’s progress to make sure it can quickly respond to any power outages that may occur. According to their website, PSEG is ensuring all available personnel are ready to respond with the addition of contractors and tree crews to assist their workforce. The utility is stocked with supplies and fuel, and generators have all been tested and are ready to perform.
The high winds expected to accompany Nemo can bring down trees and large branches, which are prime causes of power outages. Cars forced off the road by icy conditions or high winds can also slam into utility poles and cause power lines to come down. In blizzard conditions, build up of snow and ice on power lines can weigh them down as well. With up to three feet of snow forecast in parts of New England, this will be a serious concern.
Utility companies, such as FirstEnergy, are recommending people take the following steps to safeguard themselves in the case of a power outage:
- Keep flashlights and batteries available at all times.
- Have a supply of bottled water on hand, and/or fill your bathtub with fresh water. In addition, have a supply of non-perishable food that does not need cooking.
- Collect extra blankets and sleeping bags for each person in your home.
- DO NOT use gas stoves, kerosene heaters, or gas/diesel generators, indoors to prevent deadly carbon monoxide from building up inside your home. Also take care when burning candles.
- Keep a charged cell phone or landline phone handy.
- Have a battery-powered radio available for access to emergency information.
The heaviest snow due to Nemo is expected to occur overnight and into Saturday morning. Coastal flood warnings are in effect for the same time period from Boston through New Jersey due to high winds.
In the simplest terms, this is an extremely dangerous storm and you should avoid all travel if possible until it passes. If you absolutely must go out, bear in mind that the extreme wind and blizzard conditions may make roads impassable, and you could actually be stranded. News outlets, including the Weather Channel are asking you be sure to complete any necessary travel by mid-day today to avoid a potential disaster.
Above all, stay safe and be prepared!
Energy Curtailment Specialists, Inc.