BGE preparing for thousands of out-of-state workers

BALTIMORE - Sunday morning brought bittersweet news for those in the Baltimore area. As models predicting the path of Hurricane Sandy tightened and seemed to focus on New Jersey, the first effects of what has been described as a "megastorm" could be seen.

The Baltimore area began to see an increase in wind in the early-morning hours, and the first rain drops began to fall in areas at about 5 a.m.

While there was more of an answer regarding the storm's path, there was also the confirmation that Baltimore is not out of harm's way.

Sunday morning saw the final stages of massive setup taking place at Baltimore-Washington International Airport as emergency utility crews were expected. Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) had at least four areas set up Sunday to welcome thousands of workers from out of state -- nearly just as many vehicles. The area at BWI was just one of those, and it is expected to see about a thousand crew members and about 500-700 trucks.

"That's a major job," said John Murach with BGE. "We started days in advance, calling other utilities, working through a mutual assistance network. We've reached out as far away as Texas, and to stretch a little further, New Mexico, to bring crews in to help us with this storm."

"We've been working here for days, getting this site set up, out other sites set up…"

Of the assistance expected, about 1,300 workers are expected today. At the staging areas at BWI, M&T Bank Stadium, Ripken Stadium and the Timonium Fairgrounds, workers will be fed, transported to area hotels for rest as needed and vehicles will be fueled.

BGE is working to mobilize more than 3,000 employees, contractors and out-of-state linemen, as well as support personnel and support staff from multiple states to provide assistance. It is also getting assistance through ComED, its sister company in Chicago.

"Expect Monday into Tuesday, once that storm is gone and it's safe to get the trucks out on the road, we'll be matching them up with the operation folks and sending them into the field," Murach said. "We really can't work in the midst of the storm through any high wind."

BGE with the storm.

Murach said winds close to 25 mph and stronger make it nearly impossible to safely send a bucket into the air.

Conditions at the airport were normal (8 a.m.), but travelers are advised to check with their airline for status updated due to the impact of Hurricane Sandy on travel.

Check back with ABC2 News as we continue to develop this story.

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