As Hurricane Sandy bears down of the upper east coast on Monday, upwards of 10 million people could be facing major power outages. Utility companies have called in thousands of additional workers. They are also recruiting crews to cut down trees that fall on power lines.
A computer generated an estimate of how many people will be without power and how long. The model was created at Johns Hopkins University by Seth Guikema, assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering.
Guikema took data from 11 prior hurricanes and mixed it with expected wind gusts, duration and population density. The end result of his data crunching is that an estimated 8 to 10 million people will lose power.
Hurricane Irene left 6 to 7 million people without power and caused an $16 billion in damages. Guikema stated that getting information such as this would ultimately help utility companies to be better prepared. “The aim, really, is to see if we can get this kind of information to emergency managers ahead of time, so they can be more prepared for future storms.
New Jersey’s Public Service Electric and Gas Company stated that Hurricane Sandy is a “storm on steroids”. They were predicting on Saturday that between 500,000 and 1 million of their 2.2 million customers are expected to lose power.
Con Edison of New York stated they are “expecting damages to electrical equipment both above and, due to flooding, below ground. They said they are prepared to “shut down underground electrical distribution equipment if the storm surge flooded low-lying areas like lower Manhattan”.
Long Island Power Authority and National Grid are responsible for 4.4 million people in New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. They are expecting power outages to last seven to 10 days if not longer.
Customers in the storm area should already be prepared for long power outages. The utilities have stated that they are as prepared for the storm damage as they can be.
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