February Blizzard Blankets Northeast

Extreme weather in extreme temperatures poses the most danger to electricity transmission and delivery. Unfortunately, we have seen time and again that it is in those circumstances that electricity service is needed most. That was the case when a powerful nor’easter assaulted the Northeast in February.

Two weather systems, one originating from the northern Midwest and sweeping over the Great Lakes, the other bringing heavy rainfall from the South, merged and began dropping snow from Philadelphia to northeastern Canada on Feb. 8, 2013.

Power lines didn’t stand a chance against the heavy snowfall and hurricane-force winds, which peaked at 93 mph, as recorded in Nova Scotia. According to Reuters, the storm cut power to 700,000 homes and businesses across nine states and was responsible for at least 19 deaths.

ome utilities reported it would take until Feb. 14 to restore power to all customers.

Contributing to the outages, the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, Mass., automatically shut down when it lost off-site power. Carol Wightman, a spokeswoman for Entergy Corp., which owns Pilgrim, reported that there was no threat to the public.

The highest snowfall was recorded in Hamden, Conn., which was buried under 40 inches, according to National Weather Service reports. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island declared states of emergency.

After the storm passed, support utility crews came from as far as Georgia, Oklahoma and Quebec to help restore power to the hundreds of thousands of outages that lingered.

With all of the preparation and aftermath, many compared the storm to Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the area just four months prior. Thankfully, the recovery, this time, was quicker.

About the Author

Timothy Johnson


Timothy Johnson is the former digital editor for ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine.

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