Christmas storm

Christmas Storm Causes Damage, Power Outages Across Mass.

A massive tree came crashing down in a Burlington man's front yard, bringing down the power lines with it and taking out power to the neighborhood.

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A storm packing a mix of heavy rains and winds knocked out power to thousands of homes across the Northeast region Christmas morning.

There were more than 7,000 customers without power early Friday in Massachusetts. As of 10:45 p.m., 740 had yet to see their power restored.

State officials and utility companies had warned that the winds could knock down trees, bringing power lines down with them. Winds gusted more than 60 miles per hour in some areas during the early morning hours. 

The National Weather Service reported that one to two inches of rain had fallen across much of Connecticut, Rhode Island and portions of Massachusetts by about 9 a.m. with additional rains on the way. The combination of heavy rain and melting snow is resulting in flooding in some of areas, the service said. There was heavy flooding on portions of Route 95 in Cranston, Rhode Island. Adding to the flooding woes were temperatures that rose into the 60s, accelerating the melting of existing snow cover.

Eversource was cancelling vacations for many employees and bringing in crews from as far away as Pennsylvania and Canada to help restore power in Massachusetts. Unitil Corp., an electric and gas utility in New England, opened its regional emergency operations centers in response to the high winds. 

The heavy rain and strong winds brought down large trees, branches and wires. In Burlington, a massive tree came crashing down in one man's front yard.

"Tremendous gust of wind, and the next thing we knew there was a crash, thought a transform exploded by the bang," the man said.

The man, who goes by Bob, told NBC10 Boston the tree fell just as the storm was picking up in intensity Friday morning.

"It was really bad, the wind was really blowing, it was the strongest I felt it all morning," he said.

When the tree came crashing down, it brought power lines down with it, leaving the neighborhood without power for a time. Police closed the road, and Eversource crews worked fast in the rain to repair the damage and get families back online.

Bob says he feels terrible that his tree caused such an inconvenience, on Christmas no less.

"I wish I had taken the brunt of it," he said. "I had many a big tree taken down, since I have been here, that was the next on the list, it came on its own I guess."

Bob says he got his power back on late Friday afternoon, which was good news for him because hew as worried about his Christmas meal in his refrigerator.

Elsewhere in Millbury, melting snow combined with heavy rain flooded Davis Road. The fire department and public works blocked the roads as the water rushed by.

The heavy rain also caused problems in Auburn where Route 20 was flooded for a time.

And in Canton and Duxbury, it was the wind, where downed trees could be seen blocking roads.

While Eversource crews were very busy Christmas, one said it wasn't nearly as bad as they feared.

In Maine, winds overnight became stronger on Christmas Day. The highest gusts on Friday morning were in the 50-60 mile per hour range in Down East coastal Maine. Bangor had gusts in the 45-50 mile per hour range from a storm tracking well to the west.

The storm allowed for southerly winds to move into the area, bringing warm temperatures, National Weather Service meteorologist Victor Nouhan said. The temperature in Caribou, at the state's northern tip, was 54 degrees, which breaks the previous record for warmest temperature recorded on Christmas Day of 48 degrees set in 2014. In Bangor, the temperature was 60 degrees, also a record warm temperature for the day.

NBC10 Boston/The Associated Press
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