Storm cuts power to more than 1 million customers
An ice storm knocked out power Friday to 1.25 million homes and businesses from Maine to Pennsylvania, closing schools and tying up travel, and authorities say it could take days for all customers to get service back. "This is pathetic," said Bob Cott, in Portland, Maine, who lost power for the first time in 10 years. "I'm already sick of winter and we have nine days to go before it officially begins."
The storm brought rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow through Thursday night, and in some areas the miserable mix was continuing Friday. For New Hampshire, the power outages dwarfed those during the infamous Ice Storm of '98, when some residents spent more than a week in the dark, The Associated Press reported.
The governors of Massachusetts and New Hampshire declared states of emergency Friday morning, and schools were closed and travel disrupted across the region. New Hampshire's court system canceled most hearings and trials for the day.
"I urge all New Hampshire citizens to take sensible precautions and heed all warnings from public officials," Gov. John Lynch said.
Fire departments were responding to reports of transformer explosions, wires and utility poles down and trees falling on homes. Utility crews were so busy dealing with public safety hazards like live power lines that they weren't immediately able to begin restoration efforts.
Utilities reported 392,000 homes and businesses without power in New Hampshire, including 300,000 served by the state's largest, Public Service Company of New Hampshire. By contrast, the 1998 storm left 55,000 Public Service customers without power.