East Coast Storms: Power Outages Could Be Worst Punch

January 9, 2013

As severe storms struck the East Coast of the United States last Friday, residents from South Carolina to southern Pennsylvania were caught off guard, to say the least. This time of year they are familiar with severe thunderstorms, hail, and a lot of rain, but nothing like what they saw this past weekend. Hurricane force winds whipped through cities like Washington, DC and Richmond, Virginia leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Perhaps the most disheartening part of all are the 22 deaths linked to the devastating weather.

Unfortunately, the worst may not be over. According to the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press, some 2 million businesses and houses were still without electricity today (Monday, July 2) and facing extremely hot temperatures expected to be in the upper 90s or higher. Officials fear the death toll may climb simply because of the excruciating heat and no air conditioning. Officials with power companies up and down the coast say that their crews are working around-the-clock to restore electricity. Some may still find themselves in the dark a week from today.

Politics Steps In

Unfortunately, even in the midst of devastating storms such as this politicians can’t seem to keep their nose out of things. Such is the case with Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley who told the Associated Press, “No one will have his boot further up Pepco’s and BGE’s backsides than I will.” O’Malley went on to say that power crews must work faster, implying they weren’t doing all they can to get people back online.

The politicking was met with a response from Pepco essentially telling the governor to mind his own business. Officials from Pepco reminded Maryland residents that it’s not simply a matter of connecting wires. Government crews must remove trees before power company workers can move in and begin their jobs. And in the case of downed utility poles, replacing them takes significantly longer than simply running new cables.

Furthermore, because so many neighboring states were hit there’s a lot of competition among power companies to get access to backup crews from other states. It is the worst possible situation without an easy remedy. The governor simply flexing his muscles does nothing but create a hostile environment and gives people the impression that power companies are slacking off.

Better Weather Ahead

In the meantime, East Coast states are hoping for fairly tranquil weather in the days and weeks ahead. Ohio has not been so fortunate, as a second round of storms blew through Sunday night and knocked out power for many the same people who just had it restored after Friday’s storms.

If anything, this past weekend storms shows us once again that we have no control over Mother Nature. Weather will be what it will be; all we can do is brace for the worst and hope for the best.

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