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MEDIA ADVISORY: Hurricane Sandy – 12 to 19 million people could lose power

An engineer at The Johns Hopkins University is predicting power outages for 12 to 15 million people, and possibly as many as 18 to 19 million people, in Hurricane Sandy’s path.

Please note: A multicolored map of power outage predictions is available. Email acl@jhu.edu.

October 29, 2012
Cell: (410) 804-2551

Seth Guikema, an engineer at The Johns Hopkins University who has been tracking Hurricane Sandy’s power outage potential for days, is now able to run his computer model by incorporating the actual track of the storm as of 2 p.m. today, as well as the forecast beyond. In doing so, Guikema expects a greater number of outages to occur based on his computer model, with a total of 12 to 15 million people predicted to lose power, and possibly up to 18 to 19 million predicted to lose power, depending on what happens in New York City. It must be emphasized that those figures and the breakdown of potential outages by state below are from the Johns Hopkins computer model and not actual outages reported by utility companies.

Predicted power outages for specific states in Hurricane Sandy’s path:

Pennsylvania:                          about 4.8 million people

New Jersey:                            about 3.5 million people

Maryland:                                about 2.3 million people

New York:                              1 to 3 million people, possibly many more.

Delaware:                                about 500,000 people

Washington, D.C.:                  about 260,000 people

Guikema (pronounced Guy-keh-ma) and his team have developed a computer model built on outage data from 11 hurricanes to estimate the fraction of customers who will lose power, based on expected gust wind speed, expected duration of strong winds greater than 20 meters per second, and population density. Guikema’s model may help power companies allocate resources by predicting how many people will be without power and where the most outages will take place, and it provides information that emergency managers can use to better prepare for storms. Guikema, an assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, says the goal is to restore power faster and save customers money. Guikema will be running the model daily until Hurricane Sandy has run its course. To speak to with Guikema contact Amy Lunday at 410-804-2551 or acl@jhu.edu.


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