Winds rake US Northeast, leaving thousands without power

National News

David Haigh looks at a large tree fell fell on his home on in Pembroke, Mass on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020 after a storm passed the area. The National Weather Service reported that winds gusted as high as 72 mph near Boston at around 7 a.m. Wednesday before leveling off through the morning. (John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via AP)

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BOSTON (AP) — Winds close to hurricane strength swept across parts of the northeastern U.S. on Wednesday morning, toppling trees, downing power lines and leaving many thousands of residents without power.

The National Weather Service reported that winds gusted as high as 72 mph (155 kph) near Boston around 7 a.m. before leveling off through the morning. Power lines were down around the region.

More than 120,000 utility customers lost power in Maine, where winds gusted to 62 mph in Bar Harbor, 53 mph (100 kph) in Portland and 52 mph (84 kph) in Bangor. For hours, the heavy winds prevented utility crews from using bucket trucks to repair lines.

More than 65,000 customers in Massachusetts were without power at 9 a.m., according to the state’s Emergency Management Agency, but within an hour the figure had dropped to about 45,000.

Rhode Island and Connecticut each had more than 20,000 customers without power, leading some schools to move classes online or cancel them entirely.

Toppled trees snarled traffic in parts of Massachusetts, including in Boston, where a large tree blocked the exit ramp from busy Storrow Drive to Massachusetts General Hospital. The ramp was closed for hours while a contractor was called in to remove it.

Fire officials in Plympton, Massachusetts, said firefighters responded to calls for trees and wires down or on fire. In one case, a tree landed on a car with adults and children in it, the fire department said on Twitter. No injuries were reported.

The weather service issued wind advisories for much of New England through the morning, but the strongest winds had passed by midday. In Maine, winds began dying down by the afternoon, and utility crews were making a dent in the power outages.

CMP had reduced its power outages to about 65,000, and Versant Power had about 24,000 outages by late afternoon.

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