Windstorm knocks out power for days

By Shawn Cunningham
©2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

A powerful storm on Thursday night into Friday left thousands of Green Mountain Power customers in the dark with many still powerless on Sunday morning.

A GMP outage map from Friday Nov. 1.

As of this morning — Monday — GMP was reporting 371 statewide customers without power with more than 25 percent in The Telegraph coverage area, including 42 in Chester, 24 in Londonderry and 21 in Grafton. And for the fourth day in a row, Baltimore – population 244 — has the same number of customers in the dark: 13.

From early Friday morning, local fire departments reported a high volume of calls, mostly for downed trees and wires  and for transformer issues. On Friday afternoon, Chester Fire Department Assistant Chief Ben Whalen told The Telegraph that firefighters had already responded to “six or seven calls,” starting at 3 a.m. including the trees that brought wires down onto Route 11 closing the road to traffic.

Wires hang low over Route 11 where a fallen tree closed the road on Friday. All photos Chester Telegraph

“We didn’t even get dispatched for that one,” said Whalen. “We were headed out to a call on Lovell Road and we just came upon it.”

Whalen said every department in the area was experiencing the same call volume. “I think it’s safe to say that every department in the area is out on some call right now.”

Chief Jeff Duda of the South Londonderry Fire Department agreed, as he spoke at 3:25 on Friday afternoon.

“We had seven calls – direct or through mutual aid – and we’re still at on on Spring Hill Road, waiting for the power company,” said Duda.

At that point, Middletown, Winhall Hollow, Winhall Station and Spring Hill roads were closed.

A tree hanging on power and phone lines and downed wires closed Middletown Road on Friday

“We’re at the mercy of the power company to come and take down trees and put up wires so we can open the roads,” said Duda who noted that there were detours available for most of the closures.

The call log for Keene mutual aid on Friday listed dozens of calls for “trees/wires/transformers” throughout the area and by 3 p.m. GMP was reporting 26,654 customers without power. In our area, the highest totals were Londonderry with 910, Jamaica 779, Chester 645, Weston 643, Grafton 496, Winhall 491 and Andover 410. Obviously for smaller towns, these numbers represented higher percentages of the households and business without power.

Multiple pine trees fell on a house and driveway on Popple Dungeon Road

As the winds began to die down later on Friday, incidents continued to be reported and the number of GMP customers without power fluctuated higher. By Sunday, morning, it was clear that the numbers were coming down with fewer new outages — although Weston and Londonderry were topping the list for most of the day with 300 to 400 customers in each town remaining in the dark.

One oddity of power distribution came to light with the storm outages. On the Chester Green, several businesses including the Southern Pie Cafe and Sharon’s on the Common had power restored fairly quickly, while next door neighbors — including the Free Range restaurant and DaVallia Art and Accents — remained dark into Saturday.

The storm came with rains and flooding in the northern part of the state where Gov. Phil Scott toured with state officials on Saturday.

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Filed Under: AndoverCavendishChesterFeaturedGraftonLatest NewsLondonderryWestonWindham

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