Hurricane Sandy is still several hours away from unleashing its full wrath on Long Island but the storm has already caused tens of thousands of Long Island Power Authority customers to lose power, the utility said.
LIPA said as of 2:18 p.m. that more than 86,000 customers were without power, and the number of outages throughout the entire region continues to grow as the massive storm churns up the East Coast.
As the impending storm made its way up the Northeast, LIPA officials prepared ratepayers for the worst-case scenario. The utility said it expects some customers to be in the dark for seven to ten days.
“Hazardous conditions may limit our ability to respond to power outages and provide restoration updates,” LIPA said on its website.
The massive storm, which is expected to make landfall in New Jersey Monday night, has brought strong howling winds to Long Island, knocking down trees and power lines.
“To the maximum extent possible, the safety of the public and our workforce is the highest priority,” LIPA added on its website. “If you have been provided with a power restoration estimate it means that your power will most likely be restored by that time. If you have not received an estimate, it will be provided to you as soon as a repair crew is assigned.”
Last year, Tropical Storm Irene knocked out power to more than 500,000 customers. Officials have warned that Sandy may pack more of a punch than Irene, which pounded the area for up to six hours. Sandy is expected to hang around for 12 to 18 hours, officials said.