NEWS

New England storm causes widespread power outages

Downed trees and power lines in Connecticut
Downed trees and power lines in Connecticut – Amanda Knightly

One of the worst fall storms in recent memory hit New England on the evening of Sunday, October 29. Winds reached 93 miles per hour in parts of Eastern Mass, accompanied by 1 to 5 inches of rain across the Northeast United States.

The wind and rain caused 1.3 million homes and businesses to lose power in New England and led to closed schools throughout the region. Luckily, the storm hit during an unusually low low-tide due to the current phase of the moon, which prevented five feet of storm surge from potentially flooding parts of New York City.

A father walks his child to a school bus at a temporary pick up location, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, in Freeport, Maine, where storm-toppled trees still made several roads impassable following Monday's storm. Drought conditions across much of Maine may have contributed to the large numbers of trees that toppled during a storm that walloped the Northeast this week, officials said. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
A father walks his child to a school bus at a temporary pick up location, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, in Freeport, Maine, where storm-toppled trees still made several roads impassable following Monday’s storm. Drought conditions across much of Maine may have contributed to the large numbers of trees that toppled during a storm that walloped the Northeast this week, officials said. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Approximately 400,000 homes and businesses in Maine lost power, almost a third of the state (more than during the great ice storm of 1998), and 300,000 in Massachusetts. North Shore communities like Boxford and Salisbury, were almost completely without electricity.

National Grid has said it will take several days to fully restore power, and that their current focus in on clear roads and cleaning up downed power lines to ensure safety and open the routes to hospitals, shelters, and other emergency facilities.

Repairs have been especially slow in Maine, but so far the state has not had to open shelters, as it seems many residents are sheltering with friends and family while they wait for electricity to come back on as temperatures have been approaching freezing at night.

The storm also caused travel delays around Boston as wet roads, downed tree limbs, and related incidents caused bad traffic on the major routes to the city, including Interstates 93 and 128 and route 2 on Monday morning. Flooding also forced the closure of Longfellow Bridge to Cambridge, and power outages caused suspended Amtrak service from Boston to New Haven, further complicating travel.

Problematically, in addition to closing schools and roads, the storm caused many New England towns to postpone trick-or-treating until the weekend after Halloween while they recover.

Sources and Further Reading

More than 1 million power outages in the Northeast after blockbuster fall stormThe Washington Post

Messy roadways impacting Monday morning commutes in MassachusettsMassLive

Widespread Power Outages Across Mass. – WBUR.

After fierce storm, more than half a million customers around New England still in the darkThe Boston Globe