4.5 Forecasting Power Outages for Vermont Snow and Ice Storms

Monday, 27 June 2016: 4:15 PM
Adirondack ABC (Hilton Burlington )
Adam Froehlig, Lyndon State College, Lyndonville, VT; and K. Christensen and J. C. Shafer

This presentation will describe applied research focused on improving the prediction of snow- and ice-driven power outages for utility companies. Wet snow and ice storms produce the majority of widespread power outages across Vermont. Vermont's elevation varies over 1000m, featuring numerous north-to-south oriented valleys, with a land surface dominated by deciduous and/or coniferous trees. Two major December storms will be shown to illustrate the forecast challenges of a heavy wet storm and an ice storm. For each storm power outage data was correlated with snow and ice accumulations to help develop critical accumulation thresholds. The resulting regression equations are then used in WRF model post-processing to better forecast the number of power outage jobs across the state. NWP forecasting issues such as premature scouring of cold-air pools and other precipitation type challenges near and around freezing are illustrated. This work ultimately aims to help utilities with their crew management ahead of major storms resulting in more timely power restoration.
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