The U.S. Electric Grid vs. Extreme Weather

Yesterday, Hurricane Irene weakened to become Tropical Storm Irene – but not before leaving at least 4 million homes without power and causing fuel shortages along the United State’s Atlantic coast. This hurricane brought on-land wind speeds of more than 85 mph in the continental United States, and maintained its hurricane status through most of its trek north. Though the storm had diminished by the time it hit New York today, it still carried 65 mph winds and drenching rain. And, with this wind came downed power lines and poles along the entire east coast, leaving many stranded without power.

The good news is that the east coast knew that this storm was coming. As David Biello said on Thursday – it’s best to be prepared. And, thanks to our nation’s storm tracking abilities, east coast utilities were able to ready road crews so they could repair power lines that were taken down by the high winds. Power plants lying within Irene’s projected path were able to prepare their facilities to be hit by the wind and rain, helping them to avoid extended supply disruptions.

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