With southeastern North Carolina and Sampson County taking a collective sigh of relief that the impact of Hurricane Sandy was very minimal, those to the north are not expected to be nearly as fortunate. With that in mind, as early as Sunday, local utility crews were taking action to help others in need.
South River Electric Membership Cooperative spokeswoman Cathy O’Dell shared that South River had released two electrical contractors on Sunday to go and assist where they were needed.
“Releasing contractors is a customary practices for EMCs during times of need,” explained O’Dell. “We sent 12 employees and seven vehicles early Monday morning up to Southern Maryland EMC to provide assistance to them from the results of Hurricane Sandy. We have needed assistance so many times from other cooperatives in the past. Now we have the opportunity to assist them in their time of need,” asserted O’Dell.
The South River spokeswoman also stated that these employees would be gone as long as it took to help restore power folllowing any damage caused by Sandy.
“We do not know how long they will have to be there, but we will do all we can to assist Southern Maryland EMC to get the power restored to its customers in as a timely manner as possible,” remarked O’Dell.
Duke Energy is ready to respond but has not dispatched any units yet, opting to assess the situation regarding its own coverage areas. Spokesman Greg Efthimiou stated that Duke Energy first had to see if any of its own coverage areas were affected prior to responding to other areas. Duke Energy reaches from Florida up to Ohio and much of the area in between.
“We are poised to send out 1,200 employees, mainly contractors, to affected areas as soon as we determine if any of our area customers are not affected. We will be assisting in the Mid-Atlantic areas and even the northeast states, but we are waiting for the storm to pass so we can direct our assistance where it is most needed and where the most damage to the power services have been seen. We are not in a wait and see mode until we determine exactly where we are needed,” cited Efthimiou.
Four County Electric Membership Cooperative is in a wait and see mode, as well. Spokeswoman Gay Johnson reported that Four County officials are waiting to see what occurs Monday night before deploying crews.
“We are not sure exactly where we will be sending our crews. The Boone area is expecting nearly a foot of snow and it may be necessary for us to assist them or even send crews to Virginia. But as of this afternoon (Monday), we are just in a ready mode awaiting to determine where we will send our people. It is our first priority to take care of those members in our area then we will reach out to others to assist them to get through this massive storm,” cited Johnson.
As of Monday afternoon, the Associated Press reported that Hurricane Sandy was still churning off the East Coast and is expected to join up with two other weather systems to create a huge and problematic storm impacting 50 million people. Here’s a snapshot of what is happening or expected, state by state.
The Carolinas: The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 14 members of a crew forced to abandon a tall ship about 90 miles off the North Carolina coast and continued to search for two other crew members. The storm lashed barrier islands and rendered several homes and businesses nearly inaccessible.
Connecticut: Water from Long Island Sound began spilling into roadways and towns along the Connecticut shoreline in the first signs of flooding from Sandy. Officials say the flooding at high tide overnight could cause more damage than a 1938 New England hurricane, known as the Long Island Express.
Delaware: Dover Air Force Base has relocated some aircraft in anticipation of the storm, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has requested that the base be used as a staging area for support and supplies. Some residents of low-lying areas of the base have been ordered to evacuate.
Kentucky: Sandy is expected to bring snow to far southeastern Kentucky. A winter storm warning is in effect in Harlan, Letcher and Pike counties through Wednesday morning. Forecasters say snow could accumulate from 4 to 10 inches in high elevations and 1 to 3 inches in lower elevations.
Maine: Virtually all Maine public schools opened Monday but some were closing early before the heaviest rain and wind from Hurricane Sandy. State officials say the biggest concern is wind, which is expected to cause widespread power outages. The state’s utilities say they have crews poised to deal with expected power outages, including some from Canada.
Maryland: Hurricane Sandy inflicted considerable damage overnight to a large, iconic ocean pier in the Maryland beach resort of Ocean City. In mountainous western Maryland, a blizzard warning was issued for sections of Garrett County for Monday night into Tuesday morning.
Massachusetts: Town officials in Scituate issued a voluntary evacuation order Monday for about 200 to 300 homes in flood-prone areas, but few people were leaving. Among there are Tom and Lesley Chamberlain, who have lived on the ocean since 1999 and endured eight major storms. They’re planning to say put this time as well, even though the water at high tide was practically at their back door.
New Hampshire:Gov. John Lynch has urged all drivers to be off the roads by 3 p.m. as Hurricane Sandy approaches. Lynch declared a state of emergency and directed that non-essential state workers be released from work Monday afternoon. He urged employers to consider releasing workers early. The governor has put 100 New Hampshire Guard soldiers on active duty.
New Jersey:Hurricane Sandy has flooded most of Atlantic City and swept away an old section of the city’s famed boardwalk. Gov. Chris Christie was hoping that low tide on Monday afternoon would give those who had not yet evacuated the state’s barrier islands a chance to get out. “This is not a time to be a show-off, this is not a time to be stupid,” he said.
New York:New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city’s public schools will remain closed on Tuesday after being shut down Monday. Earlier, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and Holland Tunnel would close at 2 p.m. Monday. Airports in the metropolitan New York City area are open, but air carriers are not operating.
Ohio: Residents of low-lying areas and along Lake Erie were told to watch for flooding; utilities are anticipating high winds that could blow down trees and poles. Snow is forecast in some areas.
Pennsylvania: Officials from the state transit agency and the Pennsylvania Turnpike have instituted speed restrictions over concerns about high winds and ordered certain vehicles, including empty trucks and motorcycles, off some highways. The National Weather Service says southeastern Pennsylvania could get winds reaching 75 mph and rainfall up to 10 inches.
Rhode Island:Officials are concerned about wind driving water north up Narragansett Bay, which could create flooding in low-lying areas of the upper bay, including Providence, Warwick and Cranston. About 2,600 National Grid customers were without power, mostly in Barrington and other parts of Bristol County.
Tennessee: Snow is expected in higher elevations, where a freeze warning has been issued. High winds are expected in many Areas.
Vermont: Gov. Peter Shumlin declared a state of emergency to provide access to National Guard troops in a state still recovering from the devastating effects of the remnants of Hurricane Irene. Culverts and storm drainage basins in some spots have been cleared of debris.
Virginia: A curfew is in place on Virginia’s swamped Chincoteague Island. Officials say the entire 37-square-mile island is underwater, and there is no way off the island because a causeway to the mainland has been closed. The 3,500 islanders who decided to tough out Hurricane Sandy have been told to keep off the streets.
Washington, D.C. : Taxis that originate in Washington are authorized to add an emergency flat rate of $15 per trip because of Hurricane Sandy, starting Monday. The price is supposed to expire at noon Tuesday, but can be extended if considered necessary. The capital area’s transit system shut down rail service for the first time since 2003.
West Virginia: Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency Monday for West Virginia, where Sandy is expected to bring high winds and heavy rains and leave behind flooded towns and as much as 3 feet of snow on the state’s highest ridge tops. Eastern parts of the state can expect to get up to 6 inches of rain. Fourteen counties are under blizzard warnings.