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Remember Oct. 2006? Lessons learned will apply to Hurricane Matthew

Posted at 4:14 PM, Oct 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-07 18:34:35-04

As the whole country continues to watch the developments concerning Hurricane Matthew, it is interesting to note that nearly ten years ago (10/12/2006), the Buffalo area was dealing with its own disaster after a freak early-October snow storm destroyed a huge number of trees and left an estimated 400,000 people without power for days.

Records from National Grid show 400 utility poles were broken with 1.5 million feet of wire needed to make repairs to its system.  NYSEG also had a large number of customers affected.

Crews from across the country came to help and National Grid said it had 3,700 field workers helping restore electricity after the storm.

The lessons learned while marshaling what seemed like a "small army" would go on to become an industry standard nationwide, said Steve Brady, spokesperson for National Grid.

One of the most important was the positioning of utility repair trucks in a location away from the disaster so they could be refueled and supplied with equipment while crews were shuttled to hotels for rest.

During the October Surprise Snow Storm, the Eastern Hills Mall parking lot became a staging point.

That lesson, as well as others learned when National Grid responded to the damage from Superstorm Sandy, will now play an important role in recovery from Hurricane Matthew.

National Grid said it is on "standby" to deploy crews down South.  In order to minimize the impact on local operations, those crews, if needed, will be taken from the different areas in New York State and Massachusetts that National Grid services.

7 Eyewitness News reporter Ed Reilly takes a look back and examines how the lessons learned in 2006 will help utility crews restore power quicker in 2016.