SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The National Weather Service officially labeled the October 7th windstorm as a derecho, a very large scale wind event that caused thousands of power outages and tree damage. Even your garden-variety strong thunderstorm can cause that type of damage to trees and power lines, but according to Climate Central, stronger storms are happening more often, leading to extra stress on the power grid.
Climate change fueled by human activities has already increased the number and strength of many other extreme weather events like hurricanes, wildfires, ice storms, flooding, and heat waves.
Climate Central found a 67-percent increase in national major power outages from weather-related events since 2000. The greatest number of outages occurred right here in the northeast with a 159% increase from the 2000 to 2009 decade to the 2010 to 2019 decade.
Their research found power outages affect millions of Americans every year, and they come with a price tag. Power outages cost Americans and the economy tens of billions of dollars annually. The increased stress on the power grid in the northeast, and across the country, shows the importance of upgrading the aging power grid to become more resilient to extreme weather.
The study also highlights the importance of preparing for power outages yourself, like with a home emergency kit.