Extreme weather poses increasing threat to power grid

Categories: Analysis
Published on: December 22, 2015

phys.org / Holbrook Mohr, Garance Burke / 22 December 2015

extremeweather and gridWhen Hurricane Katrina’s punishing storm surge plowed ashore, it swamped seven of Coast Electric Power Association’s substations, vital to powering thousands of Mississippi homes and businesses. The facilities have long since been repaired, but a decade after the storm they remain at the same elevation, and just as vulnerable to catastrophic hurricanes.

Such storms are a growing threat. An Associated Press analysis of industry data found that severe weather is the leading cause of major outages on the nation’s power grid. The number of weather-related power outages has climbed over the last decade, with the greatest spikes in 2008 and 2011, according to the AP analysis and independent studies.

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