Northeast Emergency, Utility Officials Prepare for Potential Tropical Storm

A hurricane currently moving north from the Bahamas could potentially hit the Northeast early next week as a tropical storm. The National Weather Service says the storm could be either a “close pass or direct hit” on the region late Monday and early Tuesday. Emergency management and utility officials are already urging residents to get prepared.

Nearly a year ago, a late October snowstorm downed branches and left much of western and central Massachusetts and Connecticut without power for days. Peter Judge is with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. He says it’s still unclear what the exact impact of this storm will be.

“If there is an upside about a storm like this, is we have a number of days to prepare for it.”

Judge says simple things people can do to prepare for a storm and possible power outages are to have non-perishable food and bottled water on hand, clear leaves out of gutters, make sure cars have full tanks of gas, have cash on hand, and check that generators are working. Both National Grid and Northeast Utilities say they have been monitoring the storm closely, and plan to bring in additional crews before the weekend if predictions continue to show an impact on the region. Bob Coates is a spokesperson for Western Massachusetts Electric Company, which is owned by Northeast Utilities.

“At this point, we have our base crews and our local contractor crews already secured, and then we’re looking to double those resources over the next few days so that they’re on-site.”

Charlotte McCormack, a spokesperson for National Grid, says the utility has changed its storm preparations since last October’s storm, and plans to communicate more clearly with affected communities, and to work with contractors further in advance of the storm.

“In addition we’re also cooperating and working with some of the other utilities in the area, in efforts to ramp up for this potential storm.”

Both emergency and utility officials say residents should stay up to date on storm predictions throughout the weekend.