Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. is advising customers to prepare for another round of potentially severe thunderstorms on Wednesday afternoon and evening. Developing heat and humidity could create storms with wind gusts strong enough to break limbs and topple trees onto powerlines.
Current forecasts are calling for a line of strong to possibly severe storms to move through the Mid-Hudson Valley on Wednesday afternoon. Conditions could allow powerful thunderstorms to develop with wind gusts in excess of 45 miles per hour and areas of localized flash flooding, especially in low-lying and poor drainage areas.
"We know reliable electric service is vital to our customers and we’re preparing our crews to respond if outages do occur because of these storms," said Ryan Hawthorne, Vice President of Electric Engineering and Operations at Central Hudson. "We ask customers to exercise extra caution as these storms can create hazardous conditions."
Residents are also advised to stay at least 30 feet away from downed power lines and remember that lines may be entangled and hidden in fallen trees and limbs. Residents should also assume all downed lines are live.
Localized flooding creates hazardous conditions for drivers who are reminded to never drive through standing water, Hawthorne added. In addition, heavy flooding may undermine natural gas lines, and customers are urged to report gas odors they may detect by doing the following:
- STOP what they are doing. Do not light or use a match. Do not turn lights on or off or use a flashlight, cell phone or telephone. Do not turn on any other appliance or electric/electronic device and do not flush or run water.
- GO outside immediately.
- LET US KNOW by calling our gas odor hotline at 1-800-942-8274, or call 911.
“Basements, too, may become flooded, and residents should be especially cautious before entering a flooded basement or crawlspace.” He explained that electrical panels or gas piping may become compromised and create indoor hazards. “If in doubt, contact the local police, fire department or emergency responder,” he said.
Customers can prepare for the storm and potential electric service interruptions by:
- Paying attention to weather advisories, storm outage updates and/or shelter information. Visit hudsonvalleyweather.com for the latest forecast information.
- Charging electronic devices in order to connect with Storm Central, Central Hudson’s outage information and reporting site;
- Keeping handy a flashlight and fresh batteries;
- Having a battery-powered radio to remain informed of restoration efforts;
- Confirming adequate packaged or canned foods that require no refrigeration or cooking;
- Avoiding opening a refrigerator unnecessarily during outages, so that food lasts longer, an unopened refrigerator can keep food fresh for 4 hours;
- Having a non-electric can opener;
- Keeping an emergency supply of bottled water on hand for drinking and washing; and
- Filling bathtubs with water as added reserves.
Residents are advised to keep safety in mind, particularly during power interruptions:
- Never use outdoor gas or charcoal grills indoors, as they pose a fire hazard and over time can give off carbon monoxide gas;
- Beware of fallen trees and limbs, and use caution when traveling;
- Avoid the use of candles for illumination due to fire hazards;
- Follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions on the use of emergency generators, and be sure to shut off the main breaker when in use and operate the units outdoors;
- Operate cars and motor vehicles outdoors only, and never inside the garage; and
- Avoid travel along roadways as hazardous conditions may cause driving accidents, including those involving utility poles which may cause power interruptions.
Customers can stay informed of storm and restoration conditions in the following ways:
- By text messaging: Customers should enroll in Central Hudson’s Texting Program to use text messaging to report their power condition and to obtain repair status. To enroll, visit CentralHudson.com/Alerts or text REG to 236483;
- On the Web: Visit CentralHudson.com/Storms to report outages and obtain restoration updates;
- Via smart phones: A mobile version of the Central Hudson’s website can be accessed by web-enabled cell phones and mobile devices at https://mobile.CenHud.com. Free Central Hudson mobile applications for Android and Apple and are also available by logging onto www.cenhud.com/mobileapp;
- Through social media: "Like" Central Hudson on Facebook (Facebook.com/CentralHudson) and "Follow" on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/CentralHudson); and
- By phone: Call the Central Hudson PowerLine at (845) 452-2700 or 1-800-527-2714, and please use the automated system to report or monitor your power condition.
- If a member of your household needs electricity to operate life sustaining equipment, please contact customer service at (845) 452-2700.
More information on preparing for storms and emergencies and communicating with Central Hudson is available at www.CentralHudson.com; for information regarding electric and natural gas safety, visit www.CentralHudson.com/Safety.