Vt. gearing up for possible Sandy hit - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. gearing up for possible Sandy hit

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From statewide conference calls, to the control room, Green Mountain Power is preparing to be proactive, not reactive, when it comes to the 'Frankenstorm.'

"When it hits, we're on," said GMP's Dotty Schnure.
The utility spent every day this week in meetings, making sure its crews are in place if Sandy strikes.  "We tend to try to put crews where we think the storm will hit -- we don't have that level of detail yet. We are just watching on a statewide basis so we have everything available that we need," Schnure said.

A lot has changed for Green Mountain Power in the last year. Schnure said Irene prepared crews for a devastating statewide event and the merger with CVPS has made the utility more efficient. "In the past GMP crews and CVPS crews would pass each other on the highway, now we can send crews to the closest place where there's an issue so we can get customers back on faster," she said.

While Irene is fresh in Vermonters' memory, it's important to note these are two very different storms. Experts say Irene hit Vermont much more directly and left very quickly. Sandy is expected to hit further south but linger longer after it arrives.

The difference between Irene and Sandy is something Vt. Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn was careful to point out Friday afternoon.  "I can't stress enough that this is not going to be a repeat of Irene," he said.

That being said, Green Mountain Power still has 200 additional personnel staffed for the event and VTrans workers are ready to pounce.  "Chainsaws are sharpened -- were ready to cut trees. If there's anything we love to do besides plow snow it's cut trees so if we get the high winds we'll be ready," said Scott Rogers with the Vt. Agency of Transportation.

If Vermont doesn't get the brunt of this storm, state crews are prepared to assist neighboring states through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. That same compact brought crews from all over the country to Vermont during Irene.

Friday afternoon Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in New York.  He also asked for a special designation that would put the National Guard on alert  and give the state access to federal resources to prepare for the storm.

Officials are hoping the extensive preparation isn't necessary and that this 'Frankenstorm' doesn't turn into a real life nightmare just in time for Halloween.


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