Entries in Power Outages (13)


Tempers Rise as Temps Fall, Power Outages Persist in Wake of Sandy

Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Tempers are beginning to flare as superstorm Sandy's victims woke in cold, dark homes on Friday to face yet another grinding day of waiting for help, while temperatures are forecast to drop into the 30s and a possible Nor'easter is on the way.

Nearly four million people spent a fourth day without electricity and some were told they will have to wait weeks to have their power restored.

In the meantime, many waited for hours in line yet again for scarce gasoline supplies, water and food, or endured marathon commutes.

Conditions will worsen for those without power as temperatures dip into the 30s this weekend, and the National Weather Service warns that a Nor'easter could rake the Northeast coastline starting Tuesday.

Some parts of the area hammered by Sandy feel they have been left behind in the rush to restore power to Manhattan.

Staten Island was one of the hardest-hit communities in New York City.  More than 80,000 residents are still without power, many are homeless, and at least 19 people died there because of the storm.

Four days after the storm, supplies are finally making their way to the borough and Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro is boiling over in anger at what he sees as a slow relief effort.

"This is America, not a third world nation.  We need food, we need clothing," Molinaro said.

Red Cross worker Josh Lockwood, on Staten Island, defended relief efforts.

"So many people are in need right now on such a scale that getting the materials to them as quickly as we can so that their needs are met, that's the chief challenge," said Lockwood.

The Red Cross says it's trying to get more out-of-town volunteers to help with storm relief efforts in the Northeast.

President Obama held a call with state and local officials from New York, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to discuss the repair effort late Thursday night, according to a White House official.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Deputy Administrator Richard Serino will travel to Staten Island on Friday to meet with state and local officials and inspect recovery efforts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hurricane Sandy: New Jersey Warned of 7- to 10- Day Power Outages

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As Hurricane Sandy loomed off the East Coast, some residents of New Jersey were warned to prepare for 7- to 10-day power outages, and portable generators are selling out all up and down the Atlantic Seaboard as people prepare for the worst.

Sandy is expected to combine with a cold front coming from the northwest and a high pressure system from Greenland, fueling it with enough energy to make it more powerful than the "Perfect Storm" from 1991, Hurricane Grace, some meteorologists say.

It is expected to wreak havoc on the East Coast and as far inland as Ohio for 48 to 60 hours with high winds, nearly a foot of rain and up to two feet of snow, ultimately affecting 50 million to 60 million people.

"The predictions on this storm and the damage it could create are dire," said Ron Morano, a spokesman for Jersey Central Power and Light, which issued the dire warning to its customers. "We need to deal with the forecast. We have said throughout that we are preparing for the worst case scenario."

He said JCP&L is expecting downed power lines due to falling trees and tree limbs during the storm, but the potential flooding will make it difficult to get to certain areas to restore power as well.

"The storm is supposed to linger," Morano said. "We're going to be dealing with hurricane force winds for a period that could potentially be almost two days. We can't send people up in bucket trucks if we have winds 70 miles per hour, too."

Each New Jersey power company gave out a slightly different power outage estimate, but the longest outages during Hurricane Irene were seven or eight days, said Greg Reinerk, a spokesman for the state Board of Public Utilities.

"We'd hope we're in a better position this time around, and that we can get crews from out of state quicker," Reinerk said. "It could be up to a week. ... We want people to plan for the worst."

For Generac, a company that makes gasoline-powered portable back-up generators, business has been booming. Generac's CEO, Aaron Jagdfeld, said he's shipped "tens of thousands" of portable generators to the East Coast since Thursday as stores like Lowe's and Home Depot run out of them and order more.

"It's just kind of mayhem right now," Jagdfeld said, adding that his inventory can only help so many people. "You do your best to ship as much as you can, and when you're out, you're out."

Reinerk said gas is less of a problem because the lines are underground. However, gas company websites often advise evacuees and people with flooded basements against turning off their own gas meters. For almost all problems, especially if customers smell gas, they should call their gas providers for help.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Triple-Digit Temperatures and Power Outages Continue

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Residents of the Windy City probably wish they had a breeze to help them cope with the searing heat that has been scorching Chicago lately.  

The mercury hit a record 103 degrees on Thursday -- the second straight day of triple-digit temps -- and forecasters are predicting another 103 degrees on Friday.  If that happens, it will be only the third three-day heat wave of 100-degree temperatures in Chicago since record-keeping began in the 19th century.

Chicago has now endured six consecutive days of over 90 degrees, a heat wave that has forced the closing of summer school classes and contributed to two deaths.

The city’s medical examiner’s office says autopsies performed on Thursday show heat stress contributed to the deaths of a 48-year-old man and a 56-year-old man.

There were heat advisories in 23 states on Thursday, and in many of those states, residents were forced to deal with both high temperatures and continued power outages.

Power is coming back slowly for folks in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia, following last week’s violent thunderstorms, but utility companies in Michigan, West Virginia and Ohio say there are more than 600,000 homes and businesses still in the dark and without AC.

Severe thunderstorms swept across eastern Tennessee Thursday night.  Officials at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park say at least two people were killed by the violent weather.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nearly Two Million People Still Without Power After Storms

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Nearly two million people are still without power in several Midwest and mid-Atlantic states that were pummeled by a series of violent thunderstorms last Friday night.

That number includes more than half a million homeowners in Washington, D.C., who have been told they may not get their power back until the end of the week.

D.C.’s power company, Pepco, says utility crews are working hard, removing hundreds of downed trees and re-stringing countless power lines.  Pepco spokesman Clay Anderson says utility crews from as far away as Canada have been called in to help restore power.

All told, about three million homes lost power, and 22 people lost their lives.  The governors of Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia, and the mayor of Washington, D.C., all declared states of emergency.

Meteorologists say the lightning, fierce winds and pounding rain that pummeled the region was not your average series of thunderstorms, it was a “derecho.”

AccuWeather meteorologist Brian Edwards says a derecho forms when an atmospheric disturbance lifts warm air in regions experiencing intense heat, causing thunderstorms and hurricane-force winds to develop.  The region had experienced several days of 100-plus temperatures ahead of last Friday’s storms.

Friday's derecho took 12 hours to cover more than 700 miles before reaching the Atlantic Ocean.

Edwards says derechos are more difficult to predict than other severe weather events because meteorologists are unable to identify exactly where the precise combination of factors needed to trigger a derecho will emerge.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Thousands Remain Without Power as Deadly Thunderstorms Batter US

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Hundreds of thousands of people in several Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states continue to deal with soaring temperatures and a lack of power following a series of deadly thunderstorms that have pounded the region since Friday.

At least 17 people have died from the storms in Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Ohio, North Carolina and the District of Columbia.

As of early Monday morning, more than 444,000 electric customers in Virginia are without power, while more than 443,000 are in the dark in Ohio.  Some 442,000 West Virginia residents are also experiencing power outages.

In New Jersey, about 2,500 residents are in the dark, while power companies in Maryland are reporting outages affecting close to 600,000 customers.

Utility crews from around the country have been summoned to the region to help clear debris and restore power, but officials say it may be days before all customers have their lights, and more importantly, their air conditioners up and running again.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Seattle Ice Storm Leaves 1 Dead, 180,000-Plus Without Power

Comstock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Just as Seattle was beginning to recover from the freak snowstorm that hit Wednesday, a treacherous ice storm swept the Pacific Northwest Thursday, coating the already snow-covered area with a layer of ice and contributing to at least one death.

After western Washington was hit hard Wednesday, Seattle almost beat its yearly average of 5.9 inches of snow in one day, with a little more than 5 inches of snow in total.

Other areas experienced even more snow. The state capital of Olympia got more than 12 inches while the Cascades saw several feet of snow.

While digging out, the state was hit a day later with a layer of ice between one-quarter and one-inch thick, according to Accuweather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

“It takes a shallow layer of cold air sitting around the ground to set up a situation for freezing rain,”  Sosnowski said. “On Wednesday, the cold air wasn’t thick enough so you weren’t getting that ice. But then the layer of cold air shallowed and created freezing rain.”

The layer of ice encrusted power lines and trees, causing major outages and downed trees.

Puget Sound Energy reported more than 180,000 homes without power because of the weight of the ice on top of the snow and falling trees.

Seattle-Tacoma Airport was forced to close early Thursday morning because of a sheet of ice that covered the runway. One of the three runways reopened later Thursday but many flights were delayed or canceled.

Washington Gov. Chris Gregorie declared a winter storm emergency, which authorizes the use of the National Guard and, if needed, coordination of state agencies to help local jurisdictions during the storm.

Other areas in the Pacific Northwest also saw severe weather. Oregon is experiencing heavy rain and gusty wind. There have been multiple reports of road washouts and landslides.

The area can expect to continue to see severe weather over the weekend. Several storms are headed for the area but with warmer air, they can expect to see mostly rain.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Two Power Outages, Bomb Threat Highlight 'Monday Night Football'

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Monday night football game, 20-3, but that wasn't the big story.

Right before the game started, San Francisco's Candlestick Park was plunged into darkness because of a transformer blow-out.

When power was restored after a brief delay, the game got underway.  But just as things were heating up in the second quarter, the lights went out again at Candlestick, forcing another delay.

Talk buzzed around the stadium about a possible postponement until the lights came back on.  The teams were able to finish the half and the rest of the game was played without incident.

However, after everyone had gone home, San Francisco police revealed that a bomb threat had been called in before the coin toss to start the game.  Following a quick hunt for a possible "explosive" device, cops determined that the threat wasn't credible.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


California Winds Black Out LAX, Leave Thousands Without Power

A tree fell on the canopy of a Shell gas station in Pasadena, Calif., on Thursday. KABC-TV/ABC News Los Angeles(LOS ANGELES) -- Fierce Santa Ana winds are blasting California with gusts up to 100 miles an hour, taking down trees and knocking out power to nearly 200,000 customers in the southern part of the state. The winds even managed to black out Los Angeles International Airport, where a number of flights had to be delayed or rerouted.

“It seemed like everything stopped. You were just forced to a sudden halt,” said Dalton Kratz, who was at the Los Angeles airport Wednesday night when the lights went out.

“I heard this huge rumbling sound and then the ground actually shook bad, and I wasn't sure if it was an earthquake or what was going on, so I ran out in front of the house and there's this 150 foot tree,” said Chris Drury, of nearby Van Nuys.

Further north in Sacramento, the wind blew a large tree onto Stanley Burton's home.

“All I heard was just a snapping sound,” Burton said. “Pop, pop, pop. Sounded like almost like firecrackers. Next thing I knew boom!  It goes down.”

Fire crews are preparing for the worst. In Occidental, some were evacuated after winds fanned the flames of a brush fire.

“When you get 60, 70, 80 mile an hour winds…it’s going to be very difficult to stop,” said Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Mark Savage.

Workers from California Department of Transportation were out early Thursday morning trying to clear downed trees from three Los Angeles freeways ahead of the city’s notorious rush hour traffic.

The winds are the most powerful California has seen in 10 years -- and they’re not expected to calm just yet. The National Weather Service says the windstorm is expected to peak early Thursday and last through Friday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


1.4 Million Without Power in Southern California Blackout

Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images(SAN DIEGO) -- A massive power outage that swept across Arizona, Southern California and Mexico has left millions of people in the dark and brought major West Coast cities to a standstill.

San Diego Gas & Electric Co. president and CEO Michael Niggl said at a press conference Thursday that the outage originated in Arizona and the 1.4 million affected customers could be without power through the night and into Friday.

The outage could have been caused by the past few days of intense heat, he suggested. The temperature in the Palm Springs, Calif., area reached 111 on Thursday.

There was "no indication that this event was caused by terrorism," Niggl said, adding that the agency was working with the California Independent System Operator to bring them back online.

The outage, which started at 4 p.m. PST, appeared to stretch east from San Diego to Yuma, Ariz., as far north as San Clemente, Calif., and as far south as the Baja penisula in Mexico.

The specific cause of the outage is still unknown. But authorities said it had to do with the power line that connects Arizona and California. Both major connections that bring power to the region have been disconnected -- for reasons unknown.

Viewers of ABC affiliate KESQ in Palm Springs, Calif., have called in to say they heard a massive explosion at a substation in Coachella. Those reports could not be immediately confirmed.

The loss of power led to a shutdown of two reactors at the San Onofre nuclear power plant. Officials from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Agency said it appeared to have shut down automatically at 3:38 p.m. because of the change in the power grid -- as it is designed to do, kind of like a circuit breaker. Officials are working now to reconnect the reactor so that it can help restore power to some of the many people affected.

All flights out of San Diego International Airport have been suspended, and the airport is currently running on generators.

San Diego Gas & Electric Co. also sent out a barrage of alerts on its Twitter feed, warning customers without power to "drive safely" on roads where street lights are out and "if you have a personal family emergency plan, please activate it now."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Remnants of Lee Head North; Hurricane Katia Picks Up Strength

Cheryl Gerber/Getty Images(NEW ORLEANS) -- With Hurricane Katia picking up steam as it moves across the Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Depression Lee is moving up the East Coast after drenching parts of the deep South and leaving thousands without power.

On Monday, the skies over Louisiana were clearing after Lee, which made landfall as a tropical storm Sunday, dropped more than 14 inches of rain in some parts -- more than the state normally gets in a month.  Although the storm system was downgraded to a depression overnight, forecasters still warned of heavy rain and flooding.

In Mississippi, nearly 5,000 customers were reportedly without power.

In some parts of Louisiana, small boats were the only way to get around.  Winds knocked down trees and spawned water spouts.

The storm put New Orleans' post-Katrina flood protection to the test.  Some of the city's streets were flooded but the pumping system kept pace.  Evacuations appeared to be in the hundreds, not the thousands.

Before Lee was downgraded, the storm produced almost 20 tornadoes during the weekend in several Gulf Coast states.

Craig Staples told ABC News that it felt like Hurricane Katrina again.

"Not as bad, kind of scary," Staples said.  "It's a shock."

Meanwhile, Katia was downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane on Tuesday after becoming the first Category 4 storm of the 2011 Atlantic season overnight.  The hurricane is about 400 miles away from Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour.

According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Katia is not expected to make landfall on the U.S. but could bring strong rip currents along the country's East Coast and Bermuda come Wednesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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