NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Eversource activated its emergency response plan on Thursday as Hurricane Lee continued its advance north.
Eversource has 500 line and 250 tree crews standing by.
Eversource officials said the company is prepared for whatever Hurricane Lee brings.
“It has been a while since we’ve really been threatened by a storm with this potential,” said Steve Sullivan, the president of Eversource Connecticut Electric.
The repeated rain and thunderstorms this summer saturated the ground, and leaves are still on trees, making them heavier than normal. Eversource said this, paired with 50 mph winds, will uproot trees, potentially causing outages.
“Tropical storm wind gusts across the coast, to really across all of Connecticut,” Sullivan said.
The Eversource Energy Center, which is a partnership between the electric company and University of Connecticut, looks at tree conditions to predict outages.
The group said that 90% of outages in the state are caused by trees. This weekend, the group is expecting anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 power outages.
“We will see, as usual, the highest number of outages in southwestern Connecticut, just because there is more infrastructure there so there is more population,” said Diego Cerrai, the manager and associate director of the Eversource Energy Center.
Sullivan said the crews prioritize the largest outages first which often impact main areas like hospitals.
“Each job can take hours, so if you are one of those smaller outages and we are working down the list it can take time,” Sullivan said.
Eversource crews were out trimming trees in Tolland on Thursday, something that happens year-round to prepare for storms.
Sullivan said Hurricane Lee’s track has been difficult to predict, but Eversource is prepared and has options if the storm takes a turn for the worse.
“If it swings closer to us, because of the nature of this storm, there are still resources out there that are not that long of a drive to us,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan is urging residents to assemble a storm kit that has water, batteries and important prescriptions inside. He recommends making sure your phone has a full charge.
If you come across a downed wire, assume it is live, do not get near it or drive over it, and call 911.