Alabama Power crews in New Jersey worked through the weekend, helping restore power to people affected by Tropical Storm Isaias following its destructive journey up the East Coast.
Unofficial counts so far indicate at least 18 people died in the U.S. and the Caribbean in connection with Isaias, which made landfall early last week in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane.
More than 2.7 million people lost power along the U.S. Atlantic coast, in other Northeast states and into Canada. More than 1 million of the outages were in New Jersey, which suffered drenching rains, high winds and tornadoes. The storm toppled trees across the state and tore roofs off multiple homes, businesses and hotels, especially along the Jersey Shore.
More than 200 Alabama Power personnel traveled to New Jersey to assist utility FirstEnergy in its storm response. The crews, from across the company’s six territorial divisions, were at work by last Friday morning, supporting FirstEnergy subsidiary Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L), which serves 1.1 million customers in the central and northern parts of the state.
In addition to supporting FirstEnergy, Alabama Power released more than 325 contract lineworkers to assist in storm restoration at various utilities along the East Coast.
Martell Williams, assistant to Scott Moore, Alabama Power’s senior vice president for power delivery, was among the team supporting JCP&L in New Jersey. He said Monday morning that Alabama Power crews were continuing to provide support as JCP&L worked to restore power to customers.
He said Alabama Power crews helped restore power in several New Jersey communities, including Marlboro Township, Livingston, Summit, Red Bank, Springfield, Chatham, Holmdel and Mendham. Damage included numerous broken poles and downed spans of wire, caused by trees and tree limbs brought down by the storm’s high winds. As of Sunday night, Alabama Power crews in New Jersey had replaced more than 30 poles, more than 160 spans of wire and restored service to more than 10,000 customers.
Williams said JCP&L uses a different type of wire than Alabama Power, but that the team quickly adjusted. “It’s been really impressive how they’ve worked through the challenges.”
He said local residents have expressed their appreciation to Alabama Power crews in multiple ways, waving as company trucks moved into storm-affected neighborhoods, and honking car horns in thanks.
Folks from New Jersey have taken to social media and have contacted Alabama Power directly to express gratitude.
Eight years ago, in 2012, Alabama Power crews helped JCP&L customers after Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc across the Northeast. That storm resulted in an estimated $70.2 billion in damages and was the fourth-costliest U.S. storm on record, behind Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and hurricanes Harvey and Maria in 2017, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Isaias was the fifth named storm this year, in what is already an extraordinarily active Atlantic hurricane season. Last week, experts at Colorado State University revised their 2020 hurricane forecast, upping its number of predicted storms for the season, which ends Nov. 30. They now predict 24 named storms, up from the 20 they forecast in July. The updated prediction includes 12 hurricanes, up from nine, with five becoming major hurricanes, up from four.
During a typical year, there are 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. If the updated prediction turns out to be accurate, 2020 could be the worst year since 2005, when there were 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes and seven major hurricanes, including Katrina.
Alabama Power customers should always stay aware of weather conditions and be prepared for the potential of severe storms. Learn more about how to prepare by visiting www.alabamapower.com. Click on “Our Company” and then “Outages & Storm Center.”