Vermont crews battle winds, falling trees as thousands remain without power

Local News

Much of southern and central Vermont was under a flood watch Thursday afternoon. (National Weather Service)

Green Mountain Power crews are battling high winds and rain to restore power to thousands of homes and businesses in Vermont after the region’s first nor’easter pounded New England late Wednesday.

Some 12,000 customers were without power Thursday morning, according to VTOutages, most of them in the southern counties of Rutland, Windsor and Windham. By 2 p.m., about 6,900 homes and businesses were still without electricity.

Mike Burke, chief field operations executive at GMP, said crews had to pull back from making repairs because of falling trees. “It just wasn’t safe to keep working,” he said.

The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings for the East Branch of the Ausable, near Jay and Keene, and Otter Creek at Center Rutland. Both rivers are expected to crest by this evening. The NWS says much of the North Country will remain under a flood watch until 8 a.m. Friday.

With a wind advisory in effect for western Vermont through 8 p.m., Burke warned more outages are possible, especially along Lake Champlain. He said GMP has brought in external crews to help.

In New Hampshire, about 100 school districts reported closings and delays Thursday morning due to no electricity or downed trees and power lines. A wind gust of 128 mph was reported on Mount Washington, the Northeast’s highest peak, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm left nearly 200,000 people without power in Maine, too. Heavy rain combined with 60 mph wind gusts knocked down trees and, on Cape Cod, winds gusted to as high as 90 mph knocking out power for about 200,000 residents.

Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Massachusetts, said the storm system met the definition of “bombogenesis.”

Storm intensity is measured by central pressure— the lower the pressure, the stronger it is. A storm is considered a “bomb” when the pressure drops rapidly.

“That’s why we ended up with strong, sustained winds and wind gusts,” Buttrick said. “It’s an indicator of an extremely powerful storm and not something to ignore.”

Buttrick forecast that the storm would continue traveling north and northeast, across the Maine coast through Thursday, reaching north of Nova Scotia by Friday morning.

This report contains information from The Associated Press.

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