Parts of Northeast to Remain Without Power for Days
Utility crews have been working through the night to try and restore power to as many of the 1.3 million homes and businesses affected by the ice storm as possible. Temperatures have been falling below the 20′s in many areas, causing many people to make their way to emergency shelters or to relatives in nearby states.
The Northeast, from Pennsylvania to Maine, has been slammed by a massive ice storm which has downed electric poles and severed wires, cutting power to millions in the region.
“If you don’t have power, assume that you will not get it restored today, and right now make arrangements to stay someplace warm tonight,” Gov. John Lynch of hardest-hit New Hampshire warned.
At its peak Friday, more than 430,000 customers were without power in New Hampshire, the worst power outage in state history. About 375,000 still were in the dark on Saturday.
“What is facing us is the apparent need to rebuild the entire infrastructure of some sections of the electrical delivery system,” said Martin Murray, spokesman for Public Service Company of New Hampshire.
In a news conference Friday, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick urged residents to “look after your own and your families’ safety” and recommended that people miss work to avoid driving on treacherous roads. More than 350,000 were without power. Officials said they expected services to be restored by Monday, but Patrick called those estimates “ambitious.”
The governor estimated the cost to the state of Massachusetts at about $7 million, and said that he would seek a presidential disaster declaration to make federal money available for recovery efforts.
Hardest hit in Massachusetts was northern Worcester County, where more than 100,000 homes lost electricity.
At least four deaths were being attributed to the storm by authorities, including that of a man in Danville, N.H. who died of carbon monoxide poisoning after hooking up a generator to a camper which he lived in. A similar accident killed a 60 year old couple in Glenville, N.Y.
200,000 lost power in Maine, according to the state’s emergency management agency.
The good news is that the weather is improving.
With the storm now hovering somewhere over the Atlantic, the sun will shine throughout the area over the weekend, said Alan Dunham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
President Bush declared a state of emergency in New Hampshire and in nine of Massachusetts’ 14 counties, with FEMA directed to provide relief assistance.