No Quick Fix for Northeast Power Outage, Utilities Warn

A car leaves a trail of light as it passes under power lines weighed down by toppled pine trees in Freeport, Maine, on Oct. 31, 2017. Power companies are predicting a a multiple-day recovery after a severe storm knocked out electricity to nearly two thirds of the state. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

MANHATTAN (CN) — Nearly 1.5 million homes and businesses lost power Monday, and hundreds of schools closed in New England, after a storm felled thousands trees and power lines along the coast.

Though no serious injuries have been reported, floodwaters swept away at least one house in Warren, New Hampshire.

The Boston Globe spoke with a resident named Thomas Babbit who recorded a video of the home floating downstream and crashing into a bridge before breaking apart. Babbit noted that the homeowners were not on the property at the time.

Among several rivers in northern New Hampshire that overflowed Monday was the Ammonoosuc River.

Jack Durant, owner of the sailboat Lionheart, carries a bag with valuables he removed from his sailboat after it washed up on shore after unexpected overnight high winds sent vessels crashing onto Padanaram beach in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, on Oct. 30, 2017.
[PETER PEREIRA/THE STANDARD-TIMES/SCMG via AP]

Amid reports of a 130 mph gust at the Mount Washington Observatory in the Granite State, New Hampshire officials counted as many as 450,000 electricity customers without power at the storm’s peak. The Associated Press quoted Emergency Management Director Perry Plummer as saying the outage was the state’s fourth largest.

In Maine meanwhile 69 mph caused power outages for 492,000 homes and businesses, toppling a record set by a 1998 ice storm that left some parts of the state dark for two weeks.

Maine is America’s most heavily wooded state, and utilities have warned residents that power might not return this week.

Central Maine Power said some 600 line and tree workers will arrive Wednesday from as far away as Illinois and Ohio to restore service in the state. It noted that all Maine hospitals and other critical customers are already running normally.

A toppled tree covers cars for sale at Demo’s Auto Sales after an overnight storm on Oct. 30, 2017, in Warwick. Rhode Island. (AP Photo/Jennifer McDermott)

Maine is in a state of emergency declared by Gov. Paul LePage so that electrical workers can exceed the federal limit on their labor hours.

When it made landfall on Sunday, the storm coincided with the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy — a far more deadly disaster that caused at least 182 deaths in the U.S. and the Caribbean, as well as more than $71 billion in damage here.

On Monday evening, a tally of outages from utility companies at least six states said the Northeast had more than 1 million homes and businesses without power. More than 800,000 customers remained without power Tuesday morning.

There are also reports of school closures from the storm, such as in Glastonbury, Connecticut.

In the Cape Cod town of Mashpee, Massachusetts, winds hit 82 mph, and the storm also caused problems for beach dwellers and commuters in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

Many cities and towns across New England reported Tuesday that they are pushing Halloween night trick-or-treating to as late as Sunday.

The storm that began overnight on Oct. 29, 2017, brought this tree down on a car in Portland, Maine. (Photo by Michele McDonald via AP)

“She was hysterical,” Samantha Morrell said, according to an AP report, of her 8-year-old, upon learning that she could not trick-or-treat as a zombie in Harpswell, Maine, on Tuesday.

Working in residents favor is seasonable weather. Though temperatures are high in the 50s and 60s Tuesday, the low Wednesday morning is predicted to approach freezing.

The article includes reporting by Associated Press writers Dave Collins, as well as Mark Pratt and Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston; Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire; Patrick Whittle and David Sharp in Portland, Maine; Lisa Rathke in Montpelier, Vermont; Shawn Marsh in Trenton, New Jersey; Dave Collins in Hartford, Connecticut; and Bob Lentz in Philadelphia.

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