UPDATE: Down Power Lines Reported in Town
Utility companies warn of power outage threat during ice storm.
Utility companies are warning customers to be prepared for the second round of winter's latest storm that is expected to produce as much as three-quarters of an inch of icy glaze by late Wednesday morning.
The storm has closed all Hillsborough Public Schools on Wednesday. Hillsborough Police reported Clawson Avenue was closed due to down wires at about 8 a.m., and also reported Brook Drive at Mountain Road was closed due to low power lines around 7 a.m.
Police also closed Longhill Road and Meadowbrook Drive for downed wires at 9:35 a.m. Longhill Road was opened again at 11:25 a.m. and Meadowbrook Drive was opened around 1:30 p.m.
Police also closed Triangle Road from Farm Road to Route 206 because of downed wires at about 9:00 a.m. The road was reopened at 9:31 a.m.
South Branch Road at East Mountain Road had been closed earlier in the morning also due to low hanging wires, but was re-opened shortly after 6:30 a.m., police said.
Flooding caused the closure of Route 206 at Mountain View Road in Montgomery Township near the Hillsborough border at about 6:30 a.m. but was re-opened shortly before 9 a.m., police said.
The National Weather Service has lifted its winter storm warning and has issued an ice storm warning for the area through Wednesday evening.
Heavy freezing rain and sleet are expected overnight, causing for a slick morning commute and the potential for downed limbs and power lines.
PSE&G and JCP&L warned customers on Tuesday of the potential threat of "widespread and lengthy power outages" from the storm.
"If weather forecasts are correct, we could experience significant damage to our power lines due to icing and tree issues," PSE&G President and COO Ralph LaRossa said.
"Depending on the severity of the damage, response times for both electric and gas emergencies may be longer. Dangerous icing conditions may make it difficult for our utility crews to safely travel to restore service. We ask that customers be patient."
PSE&G said wires can come down due to the weight of the ice and from cars that skid out on icy road surfaces and hit utility poles. If a wire comes down on a vehicle, drivers and passengers are asked to remain inside the car until emergency services arrive on the scene to help.
PSE&G customers should report outages and downed power wires or utility poles to the customer service line at 1-800-436-PSEG. Customers can follow the progress of repairs to wires, poles and power outages by signing up as Twitter followers at http://twitter.com/psegoutageinfo or by visiting www.pseg.com.
JCP&L customers should report outages by calling 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877).
JCP&L offered these tips for getting through the storm:
- Be safe around power lines—Assume any downed wire is carrying electricity and call your local electric company, police or fire department to report it.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed—Food will keep for hours if you limit the number of times the doors are opened.
- Never use gas stoves or outdoor heaters to keep your house warm—These devices can cause the build up of deadly carbon monoxide in your home.
- Use generators safely and according to instructions—Follow directions for placement of generators and safe electrical connections. Never connect a generator to your home electrical system without contacting a certified electrician and installing a proper isolation device.
- Stock up on batteries for flashlights and portable radios
- Unplug appliances and electronics until power is restored—This will help protect your electronics and other sensitive equipment, and ease the initial load on the electrical system when the power is restored. Leave one light on so that you know when the power is back.
- Make sure you have at least one corded telephone—Most cordless phones will not operate properly in a power outage.
- Stay tuned for updates and information from your local and state emergency management agencies
Patch will continue to update this story throughout the storm. Let us know what it looks like in your neighborhood by telling us in the comments section.
—Tracy Montgomery contributed to this report.