January 3, 2018

Emera Maine, CMP prep for Thursday's nor'easter

Courtesy / CMP
Courtesy / CMP
CMP President and CEO Sara Burns shows Gov. Paul LePage a work plan for power restoration in the Midcoast region during the governor's Nov. 1 visit to the utility's Brunswick service center, which was followed by a tour of storm-damaged parts of Phippsburg.

Here's what National Weather Service, AccuWeather are saying

The National Weather Service office in Gray issued an "urgent" weather advisory about the Thursday storm, reporting it has "the potential to bring heavy snow and strong winds, especially to coastal sections of western Maine" and New Hampshire, which are likely to experience "blizzard conditions."

It also noted that "as this storm departs on Friday bitterly cold air will arrive from Canada along with strong northwesterly winds."

AccuWeather reported that the cold wave following the storm will be "about 5 to 10 degrees lower than the one that froze the Northeast during the final days of December and start of January."

"After a brief moderation from the cold at midweek, more bitter cold and downright harsh air will return," AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliott said in a news release, adding that in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and western Maine, the Green Mountains in Vermont and in upstate New York, temperatures are likely to plummet to 30 degrees Fahrenheit below zero on Friday.

AccuWeather also reported that "the wind may be strong enough to trigger airline delays and even sporadic power outages in the region."

Elliott said the weekend cold wave is expected to break early next week, when "an approaching storm will cause the bitter cold to retreat toward Canada, allowing temperatures to return to near-normal levels for a brief time."

Emera Maine and Central Maine Power Co. are preparing for possible power outages from a nor'easter expected to hit the state late morning Thursday.

Emera Maine is evaluating staffing needs and staging crews before Thursday's storm, the brunt of which is expected to hit its coverage area Downeast.

The National Weather Service has forecast blizzard conditions in Hancock and Washington counties and the greater Bangor area from noon Thursday until 1 a.m. Friday. Emera Maine has 159,000 customers in Washington, Hancock, Piscataquis, Aroostook and Penobscot counties.

The blizzard warning is also in effect for the entire coast of Maine, and a winter storm warning for the rest of the state, with high wind and 9 to 12 inches of snow expected. The wind is forecast to continue through Friday and the temperatures will drop into single digits on Saturday.

"Our biggest concern with this storm is the extreme cold," said Tim Pease, Emera Maine storm manager, in a Tuesday news release. "While we are preparing to respond to any outages safely and quickly, we encourage customers to monitor the forecast and take necessary precautions to stay warm and safe."

The company will continue to track the storm and make adjustments as needed, the news release said.

The power company is evaluating staffing needs both in the field and in the Customer Contact Center, fueling trucks, snowmobiles and ATVs, stocking up on storm kits and other supplies for field crews, and more, the company said. Emera Maine also will stage crews before the storm in case of difficult travel conditions within areas it anticipates will be hardest hit.

CMP's storm readiness teams have been holding planning meetings, and the company is pre-positioning personnel and equipment to ensure that adequate resources are in place to restore power outages that might occur as a result of the storm, according to a Wednesday morning news release from Avangrid, CMP's parent company.

If needed, CMP can also call on resources from the other Avangrid energy companies in Connecticut and New York, as well as contractors and regional mutual assistance partners, the release said. The company is coordinating its preparations with the Maine Emergency Management Agency and county emergency management personnel.

Emera and CMP also suggested that customers plan ahead to stay safe in the storm and be prepared for outages. Safety tips during power outages include never touching a downed power line or a tree that's in contact with one, following manufacture guidelines on generators and heat sources, and slowing down on the roads and moving over to give room to utility crews working on downed lines.

Tips can be found on Emera Maine's website and from the Maine Emergency Management Agency.


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