Unitil Corporation, (Unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, is preparing for a winter storm forecasted to impact the area beginning late Friday and throughout the day on Saturday.
According to the most recent forecast as much as 8-16 inches of snow is possible in all Unitil service areas, with the highest totals expected in immediate coastal areas. Additionally, widespread wind gusts of 35-45 mph are likely, with some peak gusts approaching 55 mph possible in coastal areas. As temperatures will remain very low, the snow consistency is expected to be dry as it falls. While dry snow typically does not weigh down tree limbs, the winds may cause outages and the hazardous travel and extreme weather conditions have the potential to slow restoration efforts as crews respond.
“Should we experience blizzard conditions, travel will be difficult on the road and bucket trucks are unable to extend their arms safely due to the elevated wind gusts,” Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara said. “While these conditions may delay restoration efforts, we are prepared for this storm and our crews will be ready to go, should outages occur.”
In light of the ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19, Unitil proactively secured additional third party crews to bolster resources and to aid in restoration efforts as needed. Unitil will continue to monitor the forecast and is prepared to escalate its response further if conditions warrant doing so.
We recommend our customers remain similarly prepared by checking and making an inventory of the following items:
- Flashlights and fresh batteries
- A battery-operated radio and clock
- Bottled water, canned foods and a manual can opener
- A list of important phone numbers and a car charger for cell phones if applicable
- A first aid kit.
Heavy snow and icicles can have an impact on home meters, especially natural gas meters and vents. As snow accumulates, Unitil advises customers to take the following steps:
- Remove snow and ice carefully from a meter or outdoor appliance vent carefully with a broom. Do not use a shovel as it can damage the meter.
- Avoid shoveling or plowing snow up against or covering the meter or pipe.
- Remove icicles from overhead eaves and gutters to assure dripping water does not freeze the meter or vent pipe. Contact a qualified roofing vendor if you cannot reach icicles yourself.
- Do not kick your gas meter in an attempt to break ice off, as this too can cause damage.
Keeping vents and meters clear will allow for proper ventilation and can prevent carbon monoxide buildup within your home.
Unitil will be communicating throughout the event through Public Service Announcements (PSAs), our website, our customer call center and through the media. We also encourage customers to follow along with our storm updates via Facebook, our Twitter feed (@Unitil) and we will be providing real-time outage information online at unitil.com/map.
Customers experiencing outages should call 1-888-301-7700. You can also report outages online at unitil.com/report-outage.