Iowa utility crews have been dispatched to the east coast, as Hurricane Sandy is expected to come ashore late today, causing widespread power outages in major cities. Tina Potthoff, a spokeswoman for MidAmerican Energy, says a team of MidAmerican lineworkers left Saturday morning.
“There are 12 men that are part of that team (plus) one mechanic, one safety member and one supervisor to make up the team of 15,” Potthoff says. “We’re also released 50 contractors and 51 contracted tree crews that we would normally work with.”
Authorities ordered tens of millions of people to evacuate the East Coast Sunday as the gigantic storm is forecast to deliver strong winds, heavy snowfall and widespread flooding. Potthoff says the crews from Iowa were told to expect to be gone at least a week, and perhaps two weeks, depending on how severe the storm damage is.
“They’ve been dispatched to Poughkeepsie, New York and they’re going to be primarily set aside to do emergency service restoration work,” she says, “so that can include putting poles back up, stringing up wires again, replacing broken equipment.” The Iowa crew members come from all over, according to Potthoff.
“We have some men that are from Shenandoah, Sheldon, Red Oak, the Fort Dodge area, Rock Valley and Avoca,” she says. Forecasts indicate major cities like New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore and Boston are likely to get blasted by the hurricane.
Schools have canceled classes, transit systems have been shut down and residents who live along the shoreline have been ordered to evacuate. The storm is massive and slow-moving, meaning sustained high winds will hit many areas and it will likely produce massive amounts of rain and snow once it moves inland.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City