Hundreds of thousands of power outages remain in the cold night
The long-lasting storm brought wind gusts of up to 94 mph and 3 inches of rain in some communities, causing widespread tree fall, particularly on the South Shore and Cape Cod. By one point on Wednesday, nearly half a million electric customers had lost their electricity.
“I’ve never seen anything as bad as yesterday – it was crazy,” said Lisa Gilbert, 53, who has lived in Cohasset for two decades.
“The boats were out of the water and in the street big trees were felled,” she said Thursday morning. “There are still a number of impassable streets and residents cannot go out. … it was really amazing.
Eversource and National Grid crews will have a decent time for their restoration efforts on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. But gusts from another storm could hamper restoration efforts on Saturday, forecasters said.
As of 11:02 p.m. Thursday, the statewide number of outages was 180,223, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
Eversource chief executive Joe Nolan told a press conference Thursday morning that he expected “when the sun goes down you will see an extraordinary drop in the number of customers without power. I can promise you that. “
He said the company expected to restore power to 98% of customers, except for a handful of special cases, by 6 p.m. Saturday.
He also said the company hopes to give customers estimates with “some granularity,” starting Thursday night, when their power will be restored so that “they can understand what they are facing for their individual outages so let them be more comfortable “.
National Grid said in a statement Thursday, “The restoration effort is expected to last for several days, with the majority of clients being restored by Saturday morning.”
Michael McCallan, New England vice president of electrical operations, said in the statement, “Today we continue to focus on restoring our remaining affected customers as quickly and safely as possible, while also working to provide more precise estimated restoration times. “
Christine Milligan, spokesperson for National Grid, said Thursday afternoon: “We continue to make steady progress and the numbers will continue to drop overnight. So we’re gonna get there. “
Governor Charlie Baker told reporters at State House: “The number of crews that were on the ground today is significantly increased from the number of crews that were on the ground yesterday.
“The weather is much better today and the wind has finally calmed down. Today, I think, is going to be a good day for the utilities, ”he said. “I hope and predict they will be able to deliver on what Eversource said earlier today, which is Saturday pretty much everyone should be back, which means Halloween should be happening. – which is really important. “
In Cohasset, city officials met to discuss recovery efforts in the aftermath of the storm. Fire chief Robert D. Silvia said the damage was spread across the city. Schools in Cohasset are closed for Friday, officials said.
“I’ve been there for a long time, in the emergency services in Cohasset, and I’ve never seen anything like the amount of damage we are actually taking,” he said. “We’ve had hurricanes, but a hurricane comes and an hour or two later it’s gone. It was 24, 36, almost 48 hours of windstorm, and the amount of damage is unprecedented. We know we have a lot to fix. And to do it safely, it will take time.
City manager Christopher G. Senior said the town’s senior center will serve as a charging and warming station for residents. “Right now our biggest challenge is that we have no power,” Senior said.
Senior said utility crews were working to restore power, but no schedule had been given for the power to return. He encouraged people to watch their neighbors to make sure they are okay.
Gilbert, Cohasset’s photographer, traveled to Boston to stay with a friend until his power was restored. She said she didn’t expect things to be up and running anytime soon. She said she had already received a series of messages from National Grid, each with a different estimated restore time.
“Times keep changing,” she says. “First he said 11:45 tonight, then 6:00 tonight, then 11:45 again.”
On the South Rim and parts of Cape Town, long lines formed at gas stations as people scooped up the fuel needed to run their generators and refuel their vehicles.
The officials asked people to treat each fallen thread as a live thread; drive carefully and watch tree branches, work crews and flooded roads; be good neighbors and be patient.
“Suppose each wire is a live wire. If you have to go out, be careful, ”Baker said at a press conference Wednesday.
More than a dozen schools on the South Shore and Cape Cod remained closed Thursday, largely due to power outages, school officials said, including those in Carver, Marshfield, Duxbury, Plymouth, Stoughton , Orleans, and Brockton, as well as the Upper Cape Regional Technical High School and the Whitman-Hanson Regional School District, according to officials.
Stonehill College in Easton closed its campus and canceled in-person classes Thursday and Friday due to an outage, the college said.
Rhode Island has also experienced major power outages. On 2,402 National Grid customers in Rhode Island were without power around 11:02 am Thursday afternoon.
A gust of wind of 94 miles per hour was recorded in Edgartown at 4:31 a.m. Wednesday according to the weather service, one of multiple instances where the gusts reached speeds of over 80 miles per hour on Cape Cod and coastal communities on the south shore.
The upheaval in the daily routine of life caused by the storm generated acts of benevolence. In Marshfield, Karie O’Donnell, along with her dog Honey, offered coffee to the drivers waiting at the public automobile service center. O’Donnell, who owns the KO Fine Art Gallery next to the gas station, thought people in line could use an elevator.
In Duxbury, where police and firefighters responded to several downed trees and a high volume of emergency calls on Wednesday, residents were told to stay off the roads “due to the large amount of debris still on roads, ”the department said on Twitter.
The town hall will also be closed on Thursday, police said.
Keolis Commuter Services, which operates MBTA’s commuter rail network, reported Thursday that signaling issues were causing delays on several lines.
The ferry service also continued to be affected on Thursday. The MBTA said it had to “fix Hingham’s wharf” and the ferry service would not operate at all on Thursday. However, a modified ferry service will be operated to Hull.
The Steamship Authority, which suffered cancellations and delays on Tuesday and Wednesday, canceled the 6.30am ferry to Nantucket on Thursday, the agency said on its website.
State courts have announced that all courthouses in Barnstable County will remain closed on Thursday due to the lack of power, as will the district courts in Stoughton and Wareham. However, all other Cape Cod and South Shore courthouses that were closed on Wednesday will be operating on Thursday, officials said.
While the impact of the winds drew the most attention, the weather service reported on Wednesday that some communities, particularly along the northern and southern coasts, had experienced heavy rains.
According to the weather service, Salem, Randolph, New Bedford and Chilmark each received more than 3 inches of rain and more than 30 communities recorded more than 2 inches of rain.
In Bourne, about 90 percent of residents still had no electricity as of Thursday morning, and the cleanup was proceeding slowly.
A large tree that fell on Keene Street trapped Charles Sutkus and four of his neighbors in their driveways, and they still couldn’t get their cars back.
“The street is a horseshoe, on the other side it’s the same thing, it’s a post at the bottom. So there are a handful of us stuck and can’t get out, ”said Sutkus, 62, who is a builder. Sutkus was going to lend a portable generator to a friend, but the friend cannot approach his truck close enough to charge the generator. Sutkus chose not to use the generator himself.
“It’s just me,” he said. “I have a fireplace for the heat and a candle for the light. I’m single, so I don’t have a refrigerator full of spoiling food. This is what happens with others.
Sutkus straightened up when he heard the train go by.
“Oh, the trains are running, that’s good. This means that the tracks are clear. Normality, I’m looking for a feeling of normality.
Material from the previous Globe coverage has been used in this report.
John R. Ellement can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Emily Sweeney can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney. Steve Annear can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @steveannear. Craig F. Walker Globe Photo Tonya Alanez can be contacted at [email protected] or 617-929-1579. Follow her on Twitter @talanez. Martin Finucane can be reached at [email protected] Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.