Long Island Could Lose Power for 9 Days from Small Hurricane

August 6, 2007

The smallest category of hurricane would knock out power to more than half of Long Island’s 1.1 million electric customers and it would take up to nine days to fully restore service, New York officials said following a recent mock disaster drill.

“During the last several years the Long Island region has been spared the destructive power of a hurricane,” said Richard Kessel, CEO of the Long Island Power Authority. “Long Island’s good luck will not last, so LIPA and its customers must continue to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.”

The 24-hour drill included representatives from LIPA, KeySpan — which provides natural gas service to the island — Nassau and Suffolk county emergency management offices and the state Department of Homeland Security.

It found that if a fictional “Hurricane Edith,” a Category 1 storm packing steady winds between 90 and 95 mph, struck the center of Long Island’s south shore, 10 to 12 inches of rain would fall on Long Island over a 12-hour period.

Damage from 90 to 95 mph winds, with gusts of 110 mph, would knock out power to more than half of LIPA customers and service would not be fully restored for more than a week.

Two weeks ago, Long Island was hit with a violent storm that dropped 4 to 5 inches of rain in a short period of time and created over 60,000 outages.

“That’s why people have to prepare now,” said LIPA spokesman Bert Cunningham.


On the Net:

LIPA Storm Center: http://ww.lipower.org/stormcenter

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