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Utility Crews Preparing for Sunday's Winds

National Grid: Up to 2000 workers on alert

February 22, 2019 - 9:48 am

Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - Extreme winds are set to slam the area on Sunday and utility crews are getting ready.  "There's always a plan in place," said David Bertola at National Grid. "We have somewhere between 1500 and 2000 line, service and tree workers on alert."

Bertola, chief spokesman for National Grid, said they will be tracking the weather system over the next two days to get a better idea of where to deploy these workers.

Sunday's winds have the potential to cause widespread outages and damage.  But Bertola points out there is a threshold in which workers cannot go up in bucket trucks to re-establish power. "40 miles an hour is the wind speed that has been determined to be unsafe to raise our buckets".  He said during peak winds they will gather information, such as if a pole breaks or a tree has brought power lines down.   "Then we'll be ready to go as soon as it is safe."

Bertola said there are some things people can do in preparation for the winds.  "Make sure you have things like flash lights and batteries, and a fully charged cell phone.  If you are using a generator, make sure it's outside. And check on your neighbors and relatives."  In the case of a major storm, outages could last for several days. "It takes time to clear roads and get into peoples' yards.  Trust me", said Bertola, "we want your power on as much as you do."

WBEN Meteorologist Aaron Mentkowski also suggests removing grill and air conditioning covers as they could disappear in a storm like this. Bring in garbage cans and if you have a trampoline, make sure it's secure, otherwise it could go airborne. 


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