Power Knocked Out for Thousands As Storm Moves North

By Samantha-Rae Tuthill, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
March 8, 2013; 4:25 AM ET
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Heavy snow can build up on tree branches and cause them to snap. When those branches hang over power lines, the result can be a loss of electricty. Photo by Julia Freeman-Woolpert

A winter storm system that has been working its way across the country slammed the mid-Atlantic, yesterday. Power outages are still being reported by the tens of thousands throughout the region. At least 29,000 customers are without electricity in Virginia, over 2,000 in West Virginia, hundreds for Maryland and Delaware, and less than 100 still without in New Jersey as of 5:50 p.m. March 7.

Now, the storm is turning northward and spreading snow across New York and New England. Outages can be expected to increase as the day goes on.

So far outages are being reported on the coast of Massachusetts, an area prone to storm outages as winds are able to pick up with force off the shape of its coast. Nearly 400 residents are being affected by power losses. An additional 100 are reportedly without power elsewhere in the state.

Power outage map provided by Long Island Power Authority.

Approximately 35 outages are affecting over 100 customers in Long Island. Most of New York and New England are still with electricity as of 5:50 p.m., but conditions will only get worse as the day goes on and heavy snow piles up across the region.

Heavier snow causes power outages to be especially common during early- and late-season storms. At the start and end of winter temperatures tend to be higher. This change in temperature, even if only by a few degrees, can make a big difference in the consistency of snow. When surface temperatures are well below freezing, snow stays light and powdery. When snow falls on ground that is just above freezing it melts slightly, which adds more moisture to the snow that accumulates. This results in heavier, stickier snow that not only weighs down power lines, but also weighs down tree branches that hang over power lines, causing them to snap under the weight. Moisture-laden snow is also more likely to develop a heavy layer of ice when the temperatures drop overnight.

Power outage updated by Vickie Frantz, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer at 5:50 p.m. EST Thursday.

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