Strong winds cause power loss across New England

Posted Feb. 20, 2011, at 10:15 p.m.

Strong winds cut power to more than 36,000 customers in Vermont and Massachusetts over the weekend, utility officials reported.

Power was restored to more than 21,000 customers after high winds damaged power lines and caused outages in central and southern Vermont. Central Vermont Public Service said about 700 customers were without power in Windsor and Windham counties at 4 p.m. Saturday. Many were expected to have their power restored by late Saturday night. CVPS spokeswoman Christine Rivers says other affected customers were in Addison, Orange, Bennington, Rutland and Caledonia counties. The outages started Friday night.

About a dozen broken poles were reported across the state. Trees and limbs brought down by the wind took down many sections of power line. Officials reported gusts of 71 mph on Mount Mansfield and 49 mph at the Rutland airport.

About 15,000 households in Massachusetts had lost power when outages were at their peak Saturday morning, with National Grid reporting about 11,000 outages and NStar reporting roughly 4,000. But utilities said restorations were ongoing. National Grid, for instance, said outages were down to about 2,400 by late afternoon.

National Grid spokeswoman Debbie Drew said the remaining outages were heaviest in Berkshire, Middlesex and Worcester counties. She said crews would be working through the night.

The National Weather Service had a wind advisory in affect in southern New England through early Sunday and forecast gusts up to 38 mph. In Maine, wind gusts hit 45 mph Saturday and were expected to drop to 30 mph Sunday as the storm leaves and a high-pressure system moves in.

Central Maine Power customers reported outages in Cumberland, but no others, just before noon Sunday on the company’s website.

Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. had no reported outages listed on its website at noon Sunday.

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