Hurricane Joaquin threatens East Coast energy infrastructure


Although Hurricane Joaquin isn’t expected to make landfall in the U.S., the storm could bring torrential rainfall and flooding along the East Coast, threatening refineries, power plants and distribution terminals, according to the latest analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The Category 4 storm battering the central Bahamas will move north in the coming days along the Atlantic seaboard, causing high winds, rainfall and flooding for several East Coast states. Some municipalities in the region have already battled heavy rainfall and flooding from a separate storm pushing across the region and Joaquin could intensify the problems, even if the storm doesn’t come ashore, the EIA said.

Data analysis: See energy infrastructure vulnerable to Hurricane Joaquin

Five states — Virgina, Maryland, New Jersey, South Carolina and North Caroline — have declared states of emergency, the EIA said. Several key pieces of energy infrastructure could be affected by Hurricane Joaquin, including power transmission and distribution lines, petroleum refineries, natural gas processing plants and distribution terminals, the EIA said.

Already, energy companies are bracing for the storm’s impact.

Jersey Central Power & Light is deploying flood barriers and pumps in several substations across northern and central New Jersey and has beefed up its staff of dispatchers and analysts ahead of Hurricane Joaquin’s arrival, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. The company also notified contractors that they may be needed to help restore electricity once the storm passes. Dominion Virgina Power began preparing for severe weather earlier this week, making staffing arrangements, staging equipment and increasing supplies needed for repairs. (by Rhiannon Meyers, Houston Chronicle)

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