BATAVIA — Power outages in Batavia, Albion and Niagara Falls could last more than 48 hours after the ongoing blizzard subsides, a National Grid official said Saturday evening.
Crews are facing extremely treacherous weather conditions as they work to safely clean up extensive debris, repair damage and restore power, company officials said in a news release.
The multi-day blizzard, which is being called a “once-in-a-generation storm,” is bringing whiteout conditions, damaging wind gusts approaching 80 mph, and additional power outages, particularly in areas off Lake Erie.
“Our crews have been restoring power since early Friday morning where conditions allow; however, due to the unprecedented severity of this storm we are not able to safely travel and reach all of the damage,” said Matt Barnett, National Grid’s vice president of New York electric operations. “We are working closely with local officials, first responders, the Department of Transportation and other key emergency response personnel to coordinate our restoration efforts. Safety remains our top priority for our employees and our customers.”
National Grid has mobilized a field force of more than 3,100 workers across upstate New York, including assistance from as far away as Canada, Iowa, Texas, and Oklahoma, to support storm response.
As of 3 p.m., the company has restored power to 130,000 of the nearly 168,000 impacted customers across its service area.
In Western New York, more than 55,000 of the 91,000 impacted customers have had their service restored. Hardest-hit counties include Erie, Niagara and Orleans.
Due to the ongoing blizzard, gale-force winds and extensive system damage, combined with the unsafe travel conditions — including impassable and closed roads — detailed restoration estimates for customers who remain without service will be provided once the storm subsides, and a thorough damage assessment can be completed.
A list of available warming centers can be found by clicking on the warming shelter icon on National Grid’s Outage Central map.
Customers are reminded to remain aware of potential safety hazards such as damaged trees, particularly broken limbs that haven’t yet fallen to the ground.
As always, customers are reminded to keep safety a priority by avoiding downed wires. All wires should be considered live and should be immediately reported to National Grid at 1 (800) 867-5222 or by calling 911.