Another October storm is on its way. You know, the kind of crazy storm that only happens once-in-a-life-time. You know, the kind of crazy storm that happened a year ago – ironically, basically a year ago to the day that Eastern Pennsylvania may get walloped again.
Oh, and then there were Irene and Lee too, who could forget those lovelies?
While memories of the wind and the rain and thunder-claps of cracking tree limbs may have faded, the thing that most people in Emmaus Patch haven’t forgotten are the power outages, which in some cases lasted five days or more.
This time around, it seems, just as Emmaus Patch residents are making their preparations for the latest angry bundle of weather, known as Sandy, PPL Electric Utilities is trying to get ahead of the storm and what Emmaus Patch residents have now accepted as the inevitable power outages that will result.
According to PPL corporate spokesman Joe Nixon, PPL has already contacted “sister utilities” in nearby states and is making arrangements for their crews to join local PPL crews on Sunday night. Those who suffered the extended power outages following the October 2011 storm may remember that part of the delay in getting customers up and running came from the need to bring in linemen from neighboring states to support the crews working in Eastern Pennsylvania.
“We will bring to bear all available resources to respond to whatever impact Hurricane Sandy has on Pennsylvania and be fully staffed 24/7 beginning Monday,” Nixon said. “We’ve also called on utilities from other states for assistance, from locations including Texas, Arkansas and Utah. In addition, we’ve notified all of our contractors who normally assist in storm restoration to remain local and we're cancelling any time off for our operations personnel next week.”
Emmaus Patch Facebook friend Laura Goldy says that she is one of the PPL customers who was without power for five days in October 2011. Her home uses well water and a septic system so a power outage adds another level of complexity to her life.
“No electricity..no well pump = no water,” Goldy writes. “We need water for drinking and cooking. We fill up the tub with water before the storm so we can flush the toilet with a bucket of water. Thank goodness for the gas stove!!! I only worry about our 9 reptiles…last time we moved them to the home of ‘great friends’ who had electricity!”
What are you doing to get ready for Hurricane Sandy's arrival in the Lehigh Valley? Tell us in the comments.
Last year, as Emmaus Patch readied for Hurricane Irene, emergency management officials from the Borough of Emmaus and Upper Milford Township weren't too concerned about street flooding. This time around, it's flooding of a different sort for which the Emmaus Fire Department is prepping, according to Lt. Ryan Crawford.
With Irene, Crawford said, the department handled about 300 or so basement pumpouts, and he describes the need for similar help when Sandy finally arrives as "inevitable." Friday night, Crawford said, firemen were making sure that all of the department's pumps are ready to go to work when those pumpout calls start coming in.
In addition to PPL’s preemptive strike against Sandy by bulking up its personnel ranks, Nixon says that the utility company has also upgraded customer service systems since last year to handle increased call volume and improve information available to customers.
When the power does go out, Nixon stresses the importance of reporting that outage to PPL. Such reports, he says, allow PPL to better assess storm damage and prioritize repairs.
Just make sure you get that cell phone fully charged before Sandy blows into town.