Storm Update from Rep. Tim Whelan 3/13 PM

Very bad conditions, serious damage to power systems
State Rep. Tim Whelan, out in Nor'easter #1 (Courtesy of Rep. Whelan)

From State Rep. Tim Whelan:

Updated information from a 4pm conference call I just finished with Barnstable County Emergency Management:

WEATHER:

The storm center (eye) is slowly pulling away. Winds should decelerate slowly over the next several hours. We should also see hurricane force gusts abating. Snow bands will continue for several more hours. The snow has stopped in western MA as the storm moves out to sea but we have a few hours ahead of us, yet. There is no predicted flash freeze overnight but it is still wise to do whatever shoveling you can before night sets in.

POWER OUTAGES:

-226,000 outages state wide
-124,000 outages in Barnstable County
-Some towns, like Chatham, Hardwick, and Dennis are over 90% out of power. Nantucket is 100% out. 
-Eversource has 71 line crews (6 people per crew) on Cape and that number will grow overnight. The transfer station in Harwich suffered a failure causing outages to much of Dennis and Harwich. Power lines are down all over the Cape. A very seasoned lineman on one of Eversource’s crews described the Town of Dennis as “the worst I’ve ever seen”.

Line crews are prohibited from going into aerial buckets to repair lines whenever winds exceed 30mph (OSHA Regulations). We are unfortunately not going to be seeing power restoration of any noticeable quantity anytime soon. When winds die down overnight the crews will attack the downed lines with vigor. The term I’ve heard used to describe their triage system is, “working from the spine out to the fingers”, meaning they first attack the outages or lines down that shut off the largest circuits (most customers), working down to the “ones and twos” type circuits.

SHELTERING:

An ongoing discussion. When the County makes an official announcement I will share it as soon as I get it. Stay tuned. [See related content link below for Barnstable County regional shelter opening announcement.]


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