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January 22, 2016

Upcoming winter storm may cause problems for East Coast energy infrastructure

map of energy infrastructure with real-time storm information, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Energy Disruptions

An upcoming winter storm has resulted in blizzard watches in major Mid-Atlantic cities, including Washington, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. Nearly 75 million people are in regions expected to be affected by the storm. In addition to record levels of snowfall, affected areas could experience high winds as well as coastal storm surges and flooding in susceptible regions.

To help analysts assess potential storm impacts, EIA maintains an energy disruptions map that displays key layers of energy infrastructure, including oil refineries, power plants, and major electric transmission lines, and real-time storm information from the National Weather Service. This web page also contains links to U.S. Department of Energy websites that provide updates to the effect of severe weather on energy infrastructure.

Snowfall may approach two feet for some locations, including the Baltimore and Washington, DC, metropolitan areas. To the north, there is more uncertainty in the amount of snowfall along the coastal metropolitan corridor from New York City to Boston. To the south, significant icing may occur in areas in Kentucky and North Carolina.

Governors in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, and the mayor of Washington, DC, have declared states of emergency ahead of this weekend's storm. A combination of heavy snow and strong winds could lead to downed trees and power outages, and utilities in affected regions are preparing for storm-related impacts.

Principal contributor: EIA Staff