Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sandy, the Dark Ages

On PECO's revised list, Sandy No. 1 by a landslide.

Sandy, the Dark Ages

Crews from New Orleans work on power lines in Solebury Township, Bucks County, on Thursday. "It took us four days to get here because we had to drive around the storm," one worker, Christian, said. (Bill Reed/Staff)

The more-or-less final tally for Sandy-related outages in the PECO territory stands at 850,000, which is an amazing number.

That not only puts Sandy at the top of the all-time outage list dating to the 1950s, Sandy beat the old record-holder by better than 300,000.

One footnote: Last week, PECO put the tall for the old No. 2, the Jan. 7, 1994, ice storm, at 520,000.

After some editing, that number was revised upward to 549,100.

Another point worth noting is that what we loosely call an "outage" technically is a "service interruption."

So if you lose power twice in a storm, those are counted as two "interruptions," explains PECO's Karen Geus.

It is impossible to know precisely how many people are affected by outages during a storm. PECO doesn't tease out the type of customer -- residential or commercial -- and doesn't break out data on multiple outages.

Those caveats aside, this was an historic storm, one for the ages, or should we day dark ages.

Here is PECO's revised top 10 outage list, pre-Sandy:

Jan. 7, 1994, ice storm, 549,100.

Sept. 18, 2002, Isabel, 517,343

Aug. 27, 2011, Irene, 508,048

July 18, 2006, Wind, rain lightning, 483,131

Sept. 16, 1999, Floyd, 408,822

March 20, 1958, Equinox snowstorm, 400,000-plus

Oct. 15, 1954, Hazel, 369,511

May 31, 1998, Tornado, 334,987

June 24, 2010, Wind, rain, lightning, 326,019

July 16, 1980, Wind, rain, lightning, 320,215





Inquirer Weather Columnist
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About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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