Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Severe weather, environmental engineering, electric distribution network, outage, vegetation management, LiDAR, Hurricane Sandy, Eversource Energy

Major Advisor

Emmanouil N. Anagnostou

Associate Advisor

Brian M. Hartman

Associate Advisor

Guiling Wang

Field of Study

Environmental Engineering


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


Reliable energy is a staple of modern society; without it, industry grinds to a halt, communication systems go silent, and the public’s welfare is at risk. In this dissertation, we will present newly developed tools to aid decision-support challenges at electric distribution utilities that must mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from severe weather. First, we show a performance evaluation of outage prediction models for storms of all types (i.e. blizzards, thunderstorms and hurricanes) and magnitudes (from 20 to >15,000 outages). Second, we present an analysis that shows how incorporating high-resolution infrastructure, vegetation management and LiDAR-derived hazardous tree pixels (HazPix) data can improve the spatial accuracy of outage predictions during hurricanes. Third, we demonstrate how crew-related variables (i.e. the number of crews working), the peak number of customers affected, and estimates from the previously calibrated outage prediction model can be used to forecast the storm outage restoration duration (the time it takes to repair 99.5% of outages during a storm event). Lastly, we combine the three previous objectives into an evaluation of i) how a future Hurricane Sandy (strengthened from large-scale thermodynamic climate change) might impact outages in Connecticut; ii) how different vegetation management strategies can decrease outages; and iii) the number of restoration crews that would be needed to repair the future outages in a timely manner. Each of these sub-objectives can be used to motivate proactive storm resilience initiatives (such as increased vegetation management or infrastructure hardening). This research has the potential to be used for other critical infrastructure systems (such as telecommunications, drinking water and gas distribution networks), and can be readily expanded to the entire New England region to facilitate better planning and coordination among decision-makers when severe weather strikes.

Available for download on Wednesday, July 02, 2025