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More Than 220K in Mass. Still Without Power; Restoration Effort Could Take Days

What to Know

  • The second nor'easter to hit New England in less than a week left hundreds of thousands of utility customers without power Thursday morning.
  • Downed utility poles and power lines caused serious concerns for motorists trying to navigate already slippery roads in several communities.
  • Police are advising people who had to be out driving to be careful and, if possible, to avoid any downed wires they come across.

The second major storm in less than a week has utility crews in New England scrambling to keep up with the number of power outages.

As of Thursday night, more than 220,000 Massachusetts customers were without power, according to the MEMA Power Website. As of 11:30 p.m., Eversource was reporting more than 46,000 customers without power in the Bay State, with National Grid reporting more than 177,000.

In Connecticut, nearly 72,000 Eversource customers were in the dark at 11:30 p.m., as were nearly 6,000 United Illuminating customers.

In New Hampshire, more than 6,500 Unitil customers and more than 2,000 Eversource customers were still without power at 11:30 p.m.

Central Maine Power reported nearly 13,000 outages in the Pine Tree State as of 11:30 p.m. More than 2,400 National Grid customers were still in the dark in Rhode Island at 11:30 p.m. At the same time, Green Mountain Power was reporting nearly 600 customers without power in Vermont.

Eversource says it could be several days before it can restore power to every home and business it serves that lost it during the latest winter storm to hit the Northeast. The utility has more than 3.5 million electric and natural gas customers in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire.

The company said on Twitter on Thursday: "Please plan to be without power for multiple days as we work through this significant restoration." 

National Grid, which serves Massachusetts and Rhode Island, also is preparing customers for long waits to get their power back. The utility says it has more than 300 crews from 16 states and Canada working on the problem.

"This nor'easter's brought in heavy, wet snowfall, and that's caused significant damage throughout our network," said Cordi O'Hara, president of National Grid in Massachusetts. "With this level of customer outages, it's going to be a multi-day restoration."

She said the first goal is to take care of public safety issues like downed trees and wires and then focus on restoring power.

"We must do public safety first. Then we will do the damage assessment."

More than 150,000 residents in the Merrimack Valley had no power, with 99 percent of Newburyport feeling the effects of the outage. Warming centers have been set up at Pita Hall on Plum Island and the Salvation Army on Water Street.

Billerica, North Reading, Reading, Salem, Tewksbury and Westford are also dealing with widespread outages and are opening their senior centers as warming centers.

It's a similar story in Pelham, New Hampshire, where 98 percent of the town was without power. Liberty Utilities is telling residents that it could take up to three days to restore power.

The downed poles and lines were a serious concern for motorists trying to navigate the slippery roads in several communities. Police were advising people who had to be out driving to be careful and to avoid any downed wires they come across.

Numerous roads across New England are impassable due to trees and wires down. A stretch of Interstate 95 in New Hampshire was closed for over an hour Thursday morning after power lines fell across the busy highway.

On Patton Road in Billerica, one resident said he could hear trees and limbs snap and pop under the weight of heavy, wet snow through the night. When he woke up in the morning, there was no power.

"The town of Billerica, the PD posted online that it's not going to be any time soon because it's so bad," Andrew Clark said.

Those without lights, electricity and heat are hoping the power comes back sooner rather than later.

"Our house is probably down to about 60, 59 [degrees] now, and I called into National Grid and they basically took the information," Gina Radzvin said with a shrug.

The nor'easter, which started Wednesday and moved out Thursday morning, slammed the East Coast with snow, rain and wind. Overall, more than a million customers in the Northeast are without power.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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