National Grid, utilities scrambling to complete restoration before Wednesday’s winter weather

National Grid, utilities scrambling to complete restoration before Wednesday’s winter weather

Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses from New England to Virginia remained without power Monday, several days after a major nor'easter struck the coast — and restoration remains the focus as another storm prepares to bear down on the region. 

Residents faced a massive cleanup Monday following the storm, which was blamed for nine deaths in the eastern United States, including two children who died after being struck by trees.

No serious injuries or death was reported locally. Instead, the bigger concern has been restoring power. 

“There were many outages, which certainly created a challenge, but we’ve been working alongside the utility’s leadership team and we expect the remaining homes would be restored shortly,”  Westerly Police Chief Richard Silva said Monday.

National Grid reported a total of 5,650 outages still remaining as of 7:45 p.m. including 3,600 in Washington County. As of that time, 75 customers in Westerly, 935 in Richmond, 692 in Hopkinton and 321 in Charlestown were still without power.

The company said during several releases Monday that they had 300 crews actively working along the shoreline and anticipated that the remaning outages would be addressed by midnight, well in advance to Wednesday’s potential storm.

To the west in Connecticut, Eversource was also continuing restoration and attempting to address several smaller, outlying customers who were still left without electricity. By 7:45 p.m., however, there were fewer than 15 outages remaining in Stonington and North Stonington combined.

“Our employees and out-of-state crews continue doing a tremendous job repairing extensive damage and restoring power after this destructive storm,” said Michael Hayhurst, vice president of electric pperations in Connecticut for Eversource.

“We were able to achieve our goal of restoring power to the vast majority of customers by last night. We know how tough it is for customers to be without power and we greatly appreciate their understanding,” he said.

Along the Eastern Seaboard, utility crews worked around the clock to restore power to the roughly 440,000 customers still without electricity Monday afternoon. At the height of the storm, more than 2 million homes and businesses were without electricity.

This included more than 150,000 National Grid customers in Rhode Island who were left in the dark at the peak of the outages, including over 13,000 in Westerly, Richmond, Hopkinton and Charlestown.

In Massacusetts, some coastal communities were in the process of bringing in heavy equipment on Monday to clear additional sand, rocks, trees and other debris that continued blocking waterfront neighborhoods.

Friday’s nor'easter had pounded the Eastern Seaboard with a combination of gusting winds, rain and snow, and coastal communities were left to deal with damaging high tide flooding as powerful waves and churning surf pounded shorelines and beachfront homes.

Dozens of Massachusetts schools remained closed Monday, most in coastal areas south of Boston, the region which bore the brunt of the storm. It could be midnight Tuesday before everyone is back online.

In Pennsylvania, more than 100,000 were waiting for power to be restored as hundreds of crews worked to clear trees and repair power lines. Officials said some customers may not have service restored until at least Tuesday. At the peak of the storm, roughly 587,000 customers were without power in Pennsylvania. Some schools were still closed Monday, while others delayed their opening.

Even as the cleanup was forging ahead, another storm is headed to the region Wednesday, albeit a much different beast.

"There's going to be a lot more snow over a wider area," said National Weather Service meteorologist Lenore Correia, in Taunton, Massachusetts.

The forecast is for 8 to 12 inches of snow west of Boston and south into Rhode Island and Connecticut, she said. The good news is that the winds won't be as strong and there is less risk of coastal flooding.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.


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