Scores of fallen trees, like this one on Dayton Lane in East Hampton Village, have been largely responsible for the extensive power outages in the wake of Irene. David E. Rattray
High-winds warnings kept Long Island Power Authority damage-assessment crews away from the East End until 4 p.m., but are now expected to be on the job until dark and back at daybreak.
LIPA will keep crews and supplies spread out to different outposts, so that they can go in and out of the field without returning to headquarters. One such outpost is at the Southampton College campus, where they have secured more than 200 beds for workers to sleep in. As of late this afternoon, LIPA expected to have 1,500 damage-assessment personnel and 1,330 linesman in the field. In the next couple of days, the total number of in-house, local contractors and off-island contractors will total 7,600.
LIPA's chief operating officer, Michael Hervey, said that the company estimates that 450,000 customers are without power. They expect to have about half that number restored in the first 24 hours. The utility had planned its response by estimating that Irene's impact would be in the range of that of 1985's Hurricane Gloria, when 750,000 households lost power.