PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Local utility crews have mobilized their workers in preparation for widespread power outages anticipated from Superstorm Sandy.
For those of us on the western side of the Laurel Highlands, keeping the power on will be a matter of watching the wind.
“You know, right now, it’s forecast to gust up to 55,” said Joe Valarian, of Duquesne Light. “We do have a very saturated ground right now, so you’re going to see some uproots, some broken limbs that type of thing.”
And, in the Laurels, it’s snow.
“They’ve upped the amount of snow they might get in the Laurel Highlands from three to five,” added Todd Meyers, of West Penn Power. “Now they are saying up to a foot of wet, heavy snow.”
And snow falling on leaf-laden trees will snap them like twigs. Then, down will come the adjacent power lines. And the first of the outages are expected as the winds pick up into Monday night.
“We’ve been able to get an additional 100 lineman coming in from the Midwest,” said Meyers.
While West Penn Power is beefing up manpower, the utilities say there is potential for power outages of a week or longer.
In addition to flashlights, water and food, alternate heat sources should be carefully considered.
“They need to make sure if they are going to try an alternative type of heat that it’s safe,” Meyers said. “No patio grill, no charcoal grills, no ovens, nothing that can cause carbon monoxide that can kill you.”
And the electric suppliers say be patient if your power goes out.
“The work itself is dangerous inherently, but when you have a good wind blowing… we have to wait until it’s safe for them to be out as well,” said Valarian.