Wind Storm Downs Trees, Knocks Out Power

Oct 30, 2017

More than 150,000 Vermonters were without electricity Monday after severe winds felled power lines across the state, and utility officials say it could be days before some homes and businesses have the power back on.

Update: Monday 11:30 a.m.

Kristin Carlson, vice-president of external affairs at Green Mountain Power, says the state’s largest utility expected strong winds to arrive late Sunday evening.

“And the storm did hit and it hit hard,” Carlson says. “We are seeing outages in every district that we serve. The wind gusts reached almost 80 miles per hour. And right now, we have about 45,000 homes and businesses that are impacted.”

Vermont wasn’t the only state hit hard. High winds and heavy rains also caused massive outages in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

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Andrea Cohen, head of government affairs at Vermont Electric Co-op, says about a third of that utility’s 38,000 customers have lost power.

“Some of these outages could potentially take a few days - hopefully not,” Cohen says. “We’re planning for the worst but hope for the best.”

Carlson and Cohen say high winds forecast for Monday afternoon could delay the repairs needed to restore power. They say crews spent most of the morning assessing damage, and cleaning up downed lines and trees.

“Our biggest priority right now is safety,” Carlson says. “There are a lot of downed trees and downed power lines, and customers should stay far away from those lines - at least 50 feet. They could be deadly and dangerous, so it is a very difficult situation.”

Carlson says Green Mountain Power has called in line crews from Canada, but that it could take through the week to restore power to all its customers. She says that by Monday evening, GMP should be able to give individual customers an estimate for when they’ll have power restored.

Update: Monday 9:00 a.m.

Route 116 and 2A in St. George and Route 2 in Plainfield are now open to traffic.

 
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Update: Monday 7:30 a.m.

Green Mountain Power says more than 350 line workers, tree workers and field teams are assessing the damage. With more weather expected, GMP estimates repairs in some areas could take days, possibly through the week to complete.

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Update: Monday 6:00 a.m.

As of 6 a.m., Vermont utilities were reporting around 60,000 homes and businesses without power.

A storm with powerful wind gusts has downed trees and knocked out power for thousands of Vermonters. Drivers should use caution this morning, as a number of roads are closed due to down trees and power lines.

“This forecast for winds are comparable to a storm in 2012 which resulted in more than 48,000 customers losing power for up to three days,” said Dorothy Schnure, Green Mountain Power spokesperson in a release. “In addition to our dedicated GMP crews who are prepared, we have arranged for additional contract crews to help us restore power as quickly and safely as possible once this storm strikes.”    

GMP says that crews may need to adjust their response in order to protect their own safety.

Vermont Electric Cooperative says that repairs may take longer than usual.  For example, some roads may not passable due to downed trees, or winds may cause safety hazards for jobs that require the use of bucket trucks.  

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Road Closures

Vermont State Police say that a number of trees and power lines are down in Jericho and Underhill and there are several roads that are impassable and shut down. Most of VT Route 15 through Jericho and Underhill, Browns Trace Rd and several other roads in this area are all impassable per the Underhill Jericho Fire Department.

In Colchester, police are asking drivers to avoid Main Street, Route 2A, between Mill Pond Road and the Essex Town line due to trees down.

In Milton, the town's emergency management director is discouraging travel as a number of roads are closed.

In St. George, Route 116 and 2A is closed due to a traffic accident. There are multiple trees down in the area.

U.S. Route 2 is closed at the intersection of Vermont Route 14 to Route 214, from East Montpelier, to Calais and Plainfield.  

Vermont Route 36 from Fairfield to Bakersfield 108 is closed.

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This story will be updated.