O&R Gears Up for Severe Weather Impact on Rockland County and Surrounding Areas: Strong Winds, Heavy Rain, and Local Flooding Expected

As a powerful storm approaches, Orange and Rockland Utilities (O&R) is taking proactive measures to respond swiftly to potential damage and power outages caused by severe weather conditions. The storm, expected to hit the region between 7 p.m. Tuesday and 4 a.m. Wednesday, is anticipated to bring strong gusty winds, heavy rainfall, and localized flooding, posing a significant threat to the electric service.

The impending storm carries the risk of downing trees, tree limbs, and overhead electric lines due to the high winds, potentially disrupting the safe and reliable delivery of electricity. Weather forecasts indicate that the storm will unleash 1.5-3 inches of rain and sustain winds at 15-30 mph, with gusts reaching 40-50 mph.

To mitigate the impact of this weather event, O&R is activating its company and contractor overhead line crews, tree removal experts, customer service operators, and its entire emergency response team. Additionally, mutual aid crews will be mobilized to assist in addressing any issues that may arise.

O&R is urging the public to exercise extreme caution around downed wires, considering them energized and dangerous. In the event of encountering a downed wire, individuals are advised to immediately contact O&R at the toll-free number 1-877-434-4100. Depending on the situation, it may also be prudent to alert local law enforcement to divert traffic away from the hazardous area until O&R personnel can respond.

For those experiencing power outages, O&R provides several ways to report and track the restoration process:

– Access the Report an Electric Service Problem tool on the Orange & Rockland website from any computer or web-based mobile device.
– Download the O&R mobile app from the Apple Store or Google Play for iPhone, iPad, or Android devices.
– Send a text message with “OUT” to 69678 (myORU).
– Call 1-877-434-4100.

For real-time information on power outages, O&R encourages residents to refer to their Outage Map

Once the weather conditions improve and it becomes safe to assess damage and restore electric service, O&R crews will prioritize clearing roads blocked by downed wires and making essential repairs to critical facilities such as police stations, fire stations, and hospitals. They will then proceed to restore power to smaller outages and individual customers.

In terms of safety, O&R reiterates the importance of maintaining a safe distance from downed wires, avoiding puddles of water, and supervising children and pets accordingly. The public is urged not to attempt rescues in cases where fallen wires are draped over vehicles. Additionally, portable generators should be used and installed as per the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent potential hazards.

To prepare for a power outage, O&R advises residents to keep emergency equipment within reach, including a portable radio, flashlights, spare batteries, a first aid kit, cell phone, and important medications. The toll-free number 1-877-434-4100 should be readily available to report power outages. Cordless phone users are reminded that their phones will be unusable during a power outage if the base station is wall-plugged.

For electric vehicle (EV) owners, O&R offers guidance on how to prepare for a power outage, emphasizing the importance of keeping EVs charged between 75-90% in case of emergencies. EVs can be charged conveniently at home using the provided plug and adapter compatible with standard outlets or through Level 2 chargers, which operate at 220 volts for faster charging.

For those unable to charge at home, publicly accessible Level 2 or DCFC Fast Chargers are available to ensure that EVs remain operational during power outages.

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