Watching storm pass on a power outage map: ‘It’s spooky.’
Article was added on Friday, September 14, 2018
A slow-motion movie plays on the electric
cooperatives' outage map, as predictions turn to reality and
Hurricane Florence tracks inland, back down the coast and inland
again. Power outages will follow.
counties will turn from green, with the fewest outages, to yellow
then orange and then red, showing more than 1,000 outages. The
yellow, orange and red colors
will spread from Horry County, already in the red Friday morning,
then southward and westward.
spooky," said Peggy Dantzler, the director of compliance and
emerging technologies education at the state association of
electric cooperatives. "You don't even need the weather radar
overlay with that swirling funnel image. In a high-wind event,
outages tell their own story."
and trees are a power-punch to overhead electric systems. As the
wind pushes over trees onto power lines, the weight puts a
tremendous pull on the poles holding them up. At some point the
poles-eight inches in diameter at the top-snap. Or the cross-arms,
the timbers where the wires are attached,
of wire from one pole to the next weighs less than 50 pounds, heavy
enough without the extra pull of fallen trees, but eventually too
heavy to bear.
electric cooperative operations managers, watching the outage map
may be an interesting exercise, but it does not help restore
those digital images don't substitute for seeing the damage
first-hand," said Burroughs Nobles, manager of operations at Horry
Electric Cooperative. "The operations managers are anxious to get
assessment teams into the field to see the damage, but that's
possible only after the storm passes."
right-of-way workers and line workers from other states-almost 800
as of Friday- converge on electric cooperatives in the damage
zones, so local cooperatives must manage the repair operation
carefully to make the most efficient use of the help. They need the
right people with the right equipment in the right
the most frustrating part of the job right now? "Waiting," said
Nobles. "And hoping that outage map doesn't get too red for too
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