The post has been updated to reflect the latest numbers from Winter Storm Riley.
- Utilities in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic were scrambling Friday afternoon as outages piled up during a strong Nor'easter, dubbed Winter Storm Riley, that brought hurricane-force winds, rain and snow.
- At least 2 million customers lost power at some point during the storm throughout the week in 13 states, ABC News reports. In just the Washington, D.C., metro area there were more than half a million outages. Utilities worked to restore power; For example, Delmarva Power, which serves Maryland and Delaware said the storm caused 180,000 outages, but restored 98% of its customers.
- Though outages may be inevitable, federal regulators said the bulk power system performed well during bomb cyclone in early January that sent temperatures plummeting along the East Coast.
Extreme weather events may always cause power outages, particularly in areas with strung wires, but the utility sector tries to be prepared in order to speed restoration times. By Friday morning, utilities were calling in extra crews and telling employees on standby to report.
In Philadelphia, PECO went to "code black" and brought its Emergency Operations Center into action. The utility reported 140,000 outages. Massachusetts had more than 100,000 outages, and utilities said it could take days to restore power to coastal communities.
In the Washington, D.C., metro area, which includes northern Virginia and southern Maryland, there were 575,000 customers without powe. according to the Washington Post's outage tracker. CNN reported almost 3,000 flights were canceled Friday. The storm was called a "bomb cyclone" because of how quickly pressure dropped — 24 millibars in 24 hours.
Pepco, which recorded winds up to 70 mph, said it was working to restore power to tens of thousands and had activated its Emergency Response Organization on Friday. The utility also boosted staffing at the company's call center.
In New Jersey, PSE&G said it had restored power to nearly 150,000 by Sunday and looked to restore power to the remaining 2,300 by Monday.