Weekend: Heavy Rain, High Winds. O&R Declares a Storm Watch

O&R declared a Storm Watch today as a weather system, packing heavy rain on Saturday night into Sunday and high winds Sunday night through Monday, is expected to blow through the region this weekend.

Storm activity, particularly the high winds predicted for Sunday night through Monday, has the potential to cause power line damage and electric service interruptions. O&R crews will be ready to respond to those events.

Company and contractor overhead line crews and tree removal crews are ramping up for a high-volume outage response to the storm, as are damage assessment, site safety, customer service operations and the wide array of O&R teams that support those functions.

In addition to its company crews, O&R has hired 50 additional overhead line technicians to supplement its own field forces to repair damage and restore service interruptions that could result from this event.

Weather forecasters expect rain will arrive Saturday evening after 7 p.m. Temperatures across portions of Orange and Sullivan Counties may be at or below freezing when precipitation starts, which may result in pockets of freezing rain. Winds on Saturday are expected to be sustained 5-15 mph with gusts to 20 mph.

Temperatures are due to increase into Sunday morning, and rain, possibly moderate to heavy at times, will then continue into the day Sunday until about 1 p.m. About 4 p.m., strong gusty winds will increase out of the west. Winds on Sunday are expected to be sustained 15-25 mph with gusts to 40 mph.

Decreasing clouds and temperatures with continued strong gusty winds are then expected Monday. Winds on Monday are expected to be sustained 20-30 mph with gusts to 60 mph.

To prepare for the severe weather, O&R electric and gas crews are securing active work sites today to prevent wind and water damage from the predicted storm.

To help its customers prepare to weather a storm, O&R offers these tips:

  • For safety’s sake, don’t touch or approach any downed wire. Assume it is energized and dangerous. Call O&R immediately toll-free 1-877-434-4100. Depending on the situation, you may also want to call your local police to divert traffic until an O&R crew arrives.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 50 feet from downed wires and anything they are in contact with including puddles of water and fences. Supervise your children so that they are not in the vicinity and keep pets on a leash or otherwise secure.
  • If a fallen wire is draped over a car, do not approach the car and make rescue attempts. Remain a safe distance away, and try to keep the occupant of the vehicle calm. If possible, emergency personnel should handle the situation.
  • Pole-top transformers --- those small grey-colored metal drums attached to the wires at the tops of most utility poles --- also should be avoided when they have been knocked to the ground.
  • Portable generators pose a serious hazard if used improperly. They should be used and installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. A wrong connection could feed electricity back through the lines and endanger our repair crews. Never plug a generator into a wall unit, use it indoors or set it up outdoors near open home windows or air-handling vents.
  • When temperatures dip and you’re without power, don’t use a natural-gas-powered oven or range to heat a room, and do not use a charcoal grill inside your home. Doing so could create either a fire hazard or a life-threatening exposure to carbon monoxide gas.
  • Have emergency equipment within reach --- portable radio, flashlights, spare batteries, first aid kit, cell phone and important medications. Keep O&R’s toll-free number 1-877-434-4100 near the phone to report power outages.
  • If you experience a power outage, don’t assume that O&R automatically knows about it or that someone else will report it. To be sure the outage is reported, please call O&R toll-free at 1-877-434-4100 to let O&R know what happened. The more information you can provide, the more O&R can help you.   
  • Remember: if the base station of your cordless phone plugs into the wall, your phone will be unusable during a power outage. 

There are several ways customers can report outages and check service restoration status:

  • Go to the O&R website from any computer or web-enabled mobile device;
  • Use the O&R mobile app from your iPhone, iPad or Android device;
  • Text “OUT” to 69678 (myORU); or
  • Call Customer Assistance at 1-877-434-4100

The following video describes the typical storm repair and power restoration process:

 

 

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