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Heavy Rain, High Winds Hit Seacoast NH and Maine: Power Outages in Thousands


Hard rain and high winds drenched and shook Seacoast New Hampshire and southern Maine on Monday, leaving tens of thousands of people throughout the two states without power. In New Hampshire, the state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management reported tens of thousands of utility customers were without power statewide Monday morning.

Gov. Chris Sununu urged residents to take precautions.

“Even after the rain stops, rivers will continue to crest into Tuesday, so take precautions now, as no one is immune from the potential for flooding from this storm,” Sununu said.

Sununu urged everyone to respect barriers that are put in place and to avoid flooded roads. Alec O’Meara, the external affairs manager for Unitil, said in a press release the high winds, with gusts over 50 mph, would be around for a while Monday.

“This is a long duration wind event, meaning we expect new outages to appear on the system for the next several hours as crews pick up issues that have already been reported,” O’Meara said.

O’Meara said there would be times Monday when line workers in bucket trucks will not be able to work to restore power, due to the high winds.

“Winds of this magnitude have certainly had an impact on our system in all service territories, but particularly on the New Hampshire Seacoast where we’ve seen numerous wires down and broken poles,” O’Meara said.

“We will be working to address public safety issues with first responders and restoring power where possible during the peak hours of the event,” he said.

At noon, Unitil reported a few thousand customers without power in New Hampshire. Eversource reported it had hundreds of line and tree crews are working to restore power and had done s successfully for more than 21,000 customers as of mid-afternoon, more than half the previous total.

“The fierce winds and heavy rains brought down trees and limbs that caused significant damage to the electric system and widespread power outages in communities across every region of the Granite State,” said Doug Foley, Eversource’s New Hampshire president of electric operations, promising 24-hour work until outages are resolved.

Meteorologist Jon Palmer, of the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, said winds of more than 55 mph could lead to waves between 10 and 15 feet high along the coasts of southern York County and New Hampshire. Beach erosion and coastal flooding are possible, he added. Indeed, Palmer said the weather service has issued wind and coastal flooding warnings for the entire seashores of Maine and New Hampshire.

Palmer said Strafford County in New Hampshire already had seen 2.39 inches of rain as of 8 a.m. on Monday. Springvale, Maine, had seen as many as 2 inches. And Palmer said the area should expect even more.

“We’re most likely expecting another inch of rain across the region,” he said. “We still have a good amount of rain to go.”

The widespread rain is expected to stop after dinnertime, Palmer added, but people should expect scattered showers overnight.

“By Tuesday morning, we should be mostly dry,” he said.

Dover, New Hampshire reported a pair of road closures: Sixth Street was closed from Longhill Road to County Farm Road due to trees on utility wires. Gulf Road was closed to through traffic from Oak Street to Baer Road, due to tree hazards in the area of Wisteria Drive.

The storm led to some schools releasing their students early. At Mildred L. Day Elementary School in Arundel, Maine, for example, students started heading home shortly after 10 a.m. as a result of a power outage there. Also, in Sanford, Maine, students at Sanford High School and Sanford Regional Technical Center were dismissed early on Monday, due to storm-related malfunctions with the building’s fire alarm system.

Source: Seacoastonline

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