After a night of freezing rain and sleet, PSEG Long Island is coping with a number of power outages on the South Shore of Nassau County.
The utility has its own crews and additional contractors out in communities to deal with outages caused by ice and wet snow pulling down lines and tree limbs. As of 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, PSEG LI reported approximately 5,191 outages island-wide, with about 4,272 of them in Nassau and 919 in Suffolk, mostly due to ice build-up on tree limbs and power lines.
Most outages on the South Shore are minor, with only a handful of homeowners affected in the Five Towns, Merrick, East Meadow and Bellmore. A major outage in Oceanside affected more than 500 customers in that community, but power was restored by 12:00 p.m. Power was restored to more than 200 affected customers in Valley Stream by 1:00 p.m.
According to PSEG LI, the steady accumulation of snow and ice poses the most serious threat of creating power outages. Wet snow on wires and tree limbs, icing and strong winds all increase the possibility of downed wires, as do cars skidding on snow, ice or slush and striking utility poles.
The utility prepared for the storm over the past few days, performing system checks on critical equipment, arranging for contractors to assist its own workforce, ensuring the availability of critical repair materials and fuel, and coordinating with county and municipal emergency personnel.
In cases of lost power, PSEG LI asks residents to first check to see if their house is the only one in the neighborhood that is affected. If it is, check the fuse box for tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses. If the fuse box looks normal, check the wire between the house and the closest utility pole. Any downed wires should be reported as soon as possible.
Residents are advised to keep an emergency kit on hand, including a battery-powered radio, a corded telephone, flashlights and extra batteries, a first aid kit, bottled water, nonperishable food, a manual can opener, matches, candles, blankets and sleeping bags.
Residents are also advised to stay away from all downed power lines, whether on foot or in a car, and keep children away from areas with downed poles or wires. If a wire falls on a car, passengers should stay put until help arrives.