Where power companies get their weather information

NOW: How energy companies gauge storm response

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Clean up is still underway after a windstorm more than a week ago knocked out power to more than 400,000 people across Maine.

According to Central Maine Power and Emera Maine, just 94 customers between the two companies did not have power as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.

For utility companies, a lot goes into preparing for a storm of that size, and it starts with a weather forecast. Central Maine Power spokesperson Gail Rice said more than 200 reinforcements for power crews were called in ahead of the storm.

“We had a lot of resources in place and we brought more in as they became available,” said Rice.

However, Rice said the forecasts CMP received before the storm suggested a lower risk of the high wind gusts much of Maine experienced. 

"We were anticipating some pretty significant gusts.  our forecasters were not anticipating them on the same scale as some of the TV meteorologists were," said Rice.

CMP said they do not consult local broadcast meteorologists. She said the company uses a combination of the National Weather Service forecasts and data from private weather sources, but couldn’t tell us specifically which ones.

NEWS CENTER spoke with John Jensenius, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Gray.

Jensenius explained the Weather Service began including information on the storm as early as the Thursday before. As confidence in the storm hitting hard increased, forecasters called for stronger wind gusts in the following days.

Rice said the next phase for CMP is to review their preparation and response to the storm.

“We could probably take in more information. We’ll be looking back at those weather forecasts to see what kind of information we had, to see what actually happened, and to see if there’s something we can do a little better with that part,” Rice said.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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