Wed, Oct 31, 2012 02:54 PM
Photo courtesy of Green Mountain
A bucket brigade rolls into the Highgate, Vt. border crossing,
greeted by the early morning sunrise. The utility line crews from
Canada have been called to join forces with GMP as Sandy
Governor Peter Shumlin declared a State of Emergency for Vermont in
advance of the storm, Sunday, Oct. 28. The designation will allow
the state to use National Guard and other federal resources if
Rutland is predicted to be among the places hit hardest in
Vermont, the governor said. In preparation, Rutland City school
administrators canceled classes, Monday.
While Sandy is expected to lose it's hurricane classification by
the time it reaches Vermont, Shumlin said the state was preparing
for the worst. He advised that this storm would be different from
Irene as high winds are expected to cause the most damage, not
water. Shumlin instead compared Sandy to a 2007 storm, which caused
thousands of trees to fall and cut off power to thousands- except
Sandy will be wider-reaching.
The National Weather Service (NWS) says 60-80 mile per hour wind
gusts are expected along the Green Mountains. Only 2-4 inches of
rain are expected to fall, although localized flooding is possible
especially where the rain is heaviest. NWS says the southern half
of Vermont is expected to be the most susceptible to flooding.
If necessary, the public should call 2-1-1 for shelter
information, evacuation information and other disaster resources.
The Vermont Emergency Operations Center was fully staffed on Monday
morning and plans to remain open as long as necessary.
Shumlin and state officials report that they have prepared for the
onset of the storm by coving all their bases, including:
• Conference calls with legislators and city
• Vermont State Police have put all personnel on
road duty and will put more and more Troopers on the road as the
storm ramps up.
• 540 maintenance workers from the Agency of
Transportation are in the field with chainsaws ready to clear
• Chainsaw crews from the Agency of Natural
Resources are on standby to help with clearing of debris.
• Swiftwater and technical rescue crews will be
staged as necessary.
• State police mobile command posts are on
standby for quick deployment when needed.
• State utilities have brought in extra line
crews from out of state to help with restoration efforts.
• The National Guard is prepared to assist with
tree clearing, swiftwater rescues, or any other missions deemed
• The Red Cross is prepared to open shelters
should homes lose power for extended periods - a listing of
shelters will be shared with the media once they open.
Green Mountain Power storm managers, line crews and support
staff were also making final preparations prior to Hurricane Sandy,
which has already left a trail of devastation.
"Crews are sharpening their chain saws, stowing overnight gear
in their trucks and preparing for the worst, even as we hope for
the best," GMP spokesman Jeremy Baker said. "Dozens of crews have
arrived from as far away as Tennessee, and dozens more will arrive
today from as far away as Florida, Quebec and Ontario."
The latest weather forecasts suggest there will almost certainly
be extensive damage as high winds whip across higher terrain,
through mountain passes where they will pick up speed, and onto
"This storm should be taken very seriously by all Vermonters,"
Baker said. "We have made extensive preparations, and we're ready
to respond once the damage begins to unfold, but the damage could
be substantial. We will restore power as quickly as we can safely
Green Mountain Power secured more than 250 outside line workers
and tree trimmers to assist in restoring power to customers and
communities. They will work with more than 140 GMP line workers,
130 contract tree trimmers normally working for GMP, and hundreds
of support staff.
Every employee at GMP, totaling nearly 700, is on alert and
prepared to help customers and communities while we collectively
deal with Hurricane Sandy.
GMP offers the following advice:
Treat any downed line as if it is live. Report the line to your
local utility and fire department, stay at least 50 feet away from
the line, and keep children and pets away as well.
Never operate a generator inside any structure or near a
structure. Use a transfer switch to ensure electricity is not
accidentally fed onto a line where line crews must work.
Keep freezers and refrigerators closed as much as possible to
prevent food spoilage.
If power goes out, turn off all electrical appliances except one
light so you'll know when service returns. Then, turn equipment
back on slowly.
Never use grills inside garages, sheds or other buildings, as
the fumes can be poisonous.
The forecast can be found at http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/btv/
Look for live updates as the storm progresses at
In case of an emergency dial: 911
For shelter information, evacuation information, and other
disaster resources dial: 2-1-1
Road Closures dial: 5-1-1 or www.511vt.com
Downed power line: contact your local utility