By The Sun staff
Utilities in Rhode Island and Connecticut were making considerable progress Saturday night in restoring power to areas of eastern Connecticut and coastal Rhode Island, a day after the nor’easter caused numerous outages and flooding.
Emergency personnel in the Westerly region were called to many homes with flooded basements, and power line problems and falling trees and branches were causing further problems in several areas.
The storm overall was responsible for at least nine deaths in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, including one person in Rhode Island.
“We ask for your patience during what is expected to be a multi-day restoration effort,” National Grid said in the afternoon.
National Grid said it had nearly 300 line crews working to restore power in Rhode Island and that 56,689 cutomers were affected by 2,123 outages, as of 10:46 p.m.
In Washington County, 9,199 customers were out of power at the same time, about 13 percent of the utility’s customers in the county. Of those, about 400 were in the immediate Westerly area, a considerable improvement over the morning and midday, when more than 2,000 customers were affected. Another 80 or so in the Bradford-Ashaway areas, with other scattered outages throughout area towns.
As of 10:37 p.m., Eversource was reporting 290 customers out of power in North Stonington, affecting 11 percent of the customers there. That was a major improvement from earlier in the day, when as many as 31 percent of the customers were affected.
In Stonington, the customers without power numbered 230, or 2 percent, at 10:37 p.m., down considerably from close to 700 through most of the day.
National Grid said, “As public safety is our top priority, the focus is first on freeing police and fire apparatus, clearing downed wires, and responding to emergencies,” the company said.
The utility said that the storm had left behind hundreds of downed power lines, broken utility poles and uprooted trees, while lingering winds and the risk of additional flooding could contribute to further damage.
Eversource said that the vast majority of customers in Connecticut would have power restored by Sunday at 9 p.m., with many being restored before that. The company said that dozens of additional utility crews from as far as Canada, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee were assisting Eversource crews with restoration efforts.
Michael Hayhurst, vice president of electric operations in Connecticut, said, “This storm was extremely destructive, bringing down thousands of trees around the state, making it difficult for our crews to travel to locations where work needs to be done.”