Delmarva Power was closely watching and preparing for the impacts of a major weather system moving across U.S. and on Saturday, April 1, severe storms, with heavy rain, hail, and strong winds caused damaged to electric infrastructure across the company’s Delaware and Maryland service area. Our crews, who were already staged and ready to respond, immediately sprang into action with nearly 330 personnel working on the system, which included our field and support personnel and local contractors. Even with the significant damage, the company was able to restore service for all customers in less than 36 hours.
The National Weather Service confirmed two tornadoes in our service area—an EF-3 in Delaware and an EF-1 in Maryland. An EF-1 tornado can have winds between 86 and 110 miles per hour, while an EF-3 can have winds between 136 and 165 miles per hour.
The EF-3 tornado in the area of Bridgeville, Del. had recorded winds of 140 miles per hour. The strong winds resulted in aluminum siding, roofing and other debris being thrown into the air, and brought down 15 wooden utility poles that came in contact with railroad tracks. The strong winds and debris even damaged one of Delmarva Power’s steel utility poles adjacent to the same tracks. Despite the significant damage to these poles and transmission lines, 30 contractors worked throughout Sunday and Monday to repair and replace the damaged infrastructure.
“When the debris was caught in our transmission lines, it acted like a sail on a sailboat and the wind continued to push against the poles, causing them to bend and topple,” said Ray Rouault, Transmission Engineering manager. “We are extremely appreciative of the crews that worked safely and expeditiously to repair our infrastructure and allow the railroad to continue their operations.”
The EF-1 tornado, with winds of 90 miles per hour, in Cecil County, Md. caused extensive damage to wooden poles in the area. Crews were able to immediately isolate the damage to begin restoring service to customers and making repairs.
“The response we get from our employees is incredible,” said Distribution supervisor Rob Quinn. “When we experience severe weather and storms like this, everyone involved is making sacrifices. And it is not just our employees who work 16-hour shifts, but it is also their families who have to make adjustments at home until the work is safely complete.”
Thank you to all of our personnel who contributed and responded to support our customers during this weather event.