A Hurricane in West Virginia? How to Prepare For An East Coast Hurricane
Most people don’t associate a hurricane with West Virginia and surrounding areas. While states like Florida are more prone to hurricanes, the Mid-Atlantic region is no stranger to the heavy rains and high winds associated with tropical storms. One of the many destructive patterns from such storms is the loss of electricity. Ironically, it is when we are without power that we learn how much we truly depend upon it for our daily living. Losing power is not only inconvenient, it can be life-threatening for those who rely upon powered medical equipment. If you live in the Mid-Atlantic region states of West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, or Pennsylvania, now is a great time to consider solar as a viable option for energy back-up.
Described as life-threatening, Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall along the East Coast on Thursday. Currently a Category 2 storm with the potential to reach Category 4 later in the week, forecasters predict that it is unlikely the storm will reverse course and head back out to sea. In fact, current predictions have the storm “stalling-out” over the Mid-Atlantic region later this week. Hurricane Florence brings great potential for massive flooding and high winds for West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
Hurricane Florence is rapidly intensifying as it approaches landfall. With many inches of rain having fallen in the area already in the past few days, the ground is already saturated. Residents throughout the Mid-Atlantic region are encouraged to take extra precautions in anticipation of flooded roads, uprooted trees, and downed power lines.
Looking Back: The Impact of Hurricane Isabel
In 2003, Hurricane Isabel, a Category 5 storm, resulted in the most severe energy impact in the mid-Atlantic’s history. The storm caused unprecedented power outages throughout a large swath of the region that lasted a week or more in some areas. More than 6 million people were without power and utility companies found themselves overwhelmed by the massive outages—even with the help of out-of-state crews. Most major utility companies throughout the affected region cite Hurricane Isabel as the most destructive storm in their company’s history.
West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland were among the areas declared federal disaster areas by President Bush. The storm caused more than $5 billion in damage in several East Coast states. Hurricane Isabel was directly responsible for 17 deaths and left 700,000 residents without power in North Carolina alone.
A Reliable Solution: The Power of Solar in Puerto Rico after Maria
On the morning of September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, devastating the island and its nearly 3.4 million residents. The Category 4 storm caused more than 90 billion in damage and left 100 percent of the island without electricity. Less than half of the island had power restored two months after the storm.
The total destruction of an already aging electric system brought much-needed attention to solar. Industry experts began researching solar as a possible option for not only restoring but maintaining electricity for the island. One solar microgrid with battery storage can provide electricity for up to 3,000 homes and businesses. This shift to solar comes with a cost—a battery pack on the island for a single home can run $10,000 or more. Residents cite generator fuel costs of $400 a week and the unreliability of the power grid as motivators for investing in solar.
Hurricane Irma’s Impact on Florida
In the early hours of September 11, 2017, Hurricane Irma struck the coast of Florida, leaving more than 6 million residents without power. While rooftop solar panels are rated for hurricane strength winds, they don’t usually provide the back-up home and business owners may expect. Connected to the public power grid, the solar power is not accessible when the public power is out—unless there is a solar battery pack like that of the LG Chem RESU in place. While the StorEdge + LG Chem solution is ideal for smaller loads such as a refrigerator and lighting, larger solutions are available that can keep a substantial portion of the home energized. Existing solar arrays can be retrofitted with battery backup as well.
The benefits of solar during a major power outage are impressive, whether large or small. For example, after Hurricane Irma, the city of Coral Springs used battery-backed solar panels to power 13 traffic lights. Placed at major intersections, these solar panels remained useful into the night thanks to the battery back-up. With 300,000 without power throughout the surrounding Broward County, this action kept traffic flowing in a safe manner.
Hurricane Preparation: Beyond Bottled Water and Flashlights
If anything, national news regarding past hurricanes and the destruction they cause teach us about the need for an electrical back-up system. Many news stories stress the importance of such items as bottled water and flashlights when it comes to hurricane preparation. Despite our tremendous dependency upon electricity, the subject appears in more post-hurricane stories than pre-hurricane stories.
While living tied to the public power grid is convenient and inexpensive for most people, the true costs come when you evaluate what’s at stake should that grid go down for days or more. Evaluating your power options before a major storm helps to prevent additional stress after the storm.
Mountain View Solar: Serving the Mid-Atlantic Region
Hurricanes are serious and scary events. From medical devices to communication, dependable electricity is necessary for our everyday survival. Residents and businesses throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region are not immune from tropical storms. Even the majestic and beautiful mountains can’t protect us from damaging winds and severe flooding. It is not a matter of if but when you will lose electricity during the next tropical storm.
Electricity is easy to take for granted. When it is out due to a powerful storm, we find ourselves almost in a panic. Have solar back-up provides peace-of-mind during stressful weather conditions.
Solar power options are more affordable than ever, in part thanks to lessons learned by past natural disasters. The true value of solar back-up is the assurance it provides you and your family—for many, knowing you will have power despite failure of a public grid is priceless. Even if you have a generator, finding gas may be nearly impossible in a widespread outage, whereas the sun will shine after the storm passes.
Get started today by reaching out to our friendly and professional staff. Mountain View Solar has more experience with solar and battery systems than any other contractor in the Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania service area with 2 Megawatt-hours of installed residential battery capacity going back 10 years. Please fill out our quick and easy consultation form if you’d like to discuss your options with a seasoned professional today!
A tropical storm doesn’t care where you live or work—protect your home and business from a loss of power by being solar backup prepared. Mountain View Solar is conveniently located in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. We proudly serve the Mid-Atlantic region, including West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
NOTE: NHC maps shown in this blog are current as of 09-10-2018 @ 12:15 Eastern