National Grid girding for powerful storm from Cape Code to Buffalo
Submitted by Howard Owens on October 28, 2012 - 8:48pm
The message from a National Grid spokesman: People need to take seriously the warning of this storm heading toward Western New York.
"Every indication we've gotten is this could be nasty," said Steve Brady, who handles media relations for National Grid in WNY.
Brady indicated the forecast has grown a little grimmer in recent hours.
If the storm turns out to be as significant as predicted, National Grid will have its hands full. The storm could sweep across its coverage area from Cape Code to Buffalo.
Brady called in response to our request for more information about the 40 or so Nelson Tree Company trucks staging at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia.
While Brady didn't have specific information about that location, he said typically National Grid will stage crews at hotels in anticipation of significant weather events. There are likely other groups of crews setting up similar staging areas in other parts of New York
"In these kinds of sitautions, hotel rooms are at a premium, so we like to keep groups of crews together," Brady said. "That's fairly common."
National Grid started planning for this storm days ago, he said. There's a lot of logisitics involved in preparing behind the scenes for these kinds of events, from procuring hotel rooms to ensuring crews receive adequate food and rest and all trucks are fueled and in good repair.
"If you were on the Thruway today, you probably saw trucks going in every direction," Brady said. "Crews are going everywhere and coming from everywhere."
Earlier today, Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator for Genesee County, noted that the northerly winds of this predicted storm will blow in the opposition direction of prevailing winds, which could make trees more vulnerable to being blown over.
National Grid faces a similar problem, Brady said, in that utility poles have guy wires to anchor them against prevailing winds. When winds blow in the opposite direction, the guy wires are less effective.
"We think we’re as ready as anybody can be," Brady said. "The problem with any major storm is you know it's coming, but you don't know where. You don't know what areas will be hit. Every area National Grid serves is going to see some impact and that's somewhat unusual compared to other major storms."
Brady, like Yaeger earlier, encouraged residents to be prepared for a major storm, acknowledging that sometimes forecasts for major storms turn out to be overblown.
"I hope people are taking this one seriously," Brady said.