31 October 2011

"5 X Worse than Irene"

3 Cheshvan 5772
(H/T Global Disaster Watch)

The deadly snowstorm on US East Coast killed at least six people and left more than three million homes without electricity.

Snowstorm damage 'five times worse' than Tropical storm Irene - The idea of snow in October - no matter the amount - was far-fetched enough that when forecasts late last week began calling for several inches of snow, many throughout Connecticut were skeptical. Even the most panicked meteorologists, though, weren't aware of just how stunningly powerful this weekend's freak winter storm would be.

On Sunday night, the president and chief operating officer of Connecticut Light and Power, laid things out in perhaps the most eye-opening way for a state only beginning to move on from Tropical Storm Irene.

The damage from the storm was "five times worse" than that delivered by Irene. More than half of customers throughout the state remained in the dark. Early this morning, the number of outages had begun to slowly recede. CL&P, which had more than 800,000 outages earlier in the day, reported 772,155 at 12:15 a.m. -- still an astonishing 62 percent of customers. Even as the number of outages began to drop, the total early today was still higher than it was at any point following Tropical Storm Irene. At 12:15 a.m. there were 45 cities and towns throughout the state completely in the dark, including Monroe, Oxford, Seymour, Redding, New Fairfield and Washington. There were also outages for 97 percent of customers in Newtown, 92 percent in Bethel, 87 percent in Ridgefield, 75 percent in Brookfield and 55 percent in Danbury. Emergency shelters and warming centers are open throughout the state Sunday night so residents without power won't have to brave potentially record low temperatures in their homes. 45 transmission lines and 15 substations are damaged. Officials said it could take days -- or more than a week -- before all power is finally restored.

"This is THE LARGEST NUMBER OF POWER OUTAGES WE HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED," more than Tropical Storm Irene. "We are expecting extensive and long term power outage. This is a historic storm, NEVER BEFORE in anyone's recollection or anyone's review of history has such a storm hit the state so early." School closures are likely because many bus routes remained blocked and school buildings without power. Strong winds with gusts as high as 29 mph have lead to more power outages. As snow falls from tree limbs, the branches snap back, breaking power lines. Damage to 164 ATT cell phone towers will result "degraded service" beginning this afternoon. Two-thirds of the flights at Bradley International Airport were back on normal schedules. In Danbury, 64 percent of the city is without power. "I would term it a catastrophic situation." More than 200 roads are closed in the area. There were hundreds of accidents reported across the state caused by a combination of slippery snow, downed trees and poor visibility. Saturday's storm, which didn't garner significant attention from meteorologists until Thursday night, SHATTERED OCTOBER SNOWFALL RECORDS THROUGHOUT NEW ENGLAND and left more than a dozen towns either mostly or entirely without power throughout the state.