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High Winds Knock Out Power in Northeast

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Dan Rockwell

Joined: 10 Dec 2001
Posts: 1988
Location: Stamford, CT, USA
High Winds Knock Out Power in Northeast PostThu Jan 19, 2006 5:01 pm  Reply with quote  

High Winds Knock Out Power in Northeast

Jan 18 2:24 PM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writer


Wind gusting up to 68 mph wreaked havoc for commuters across the Northeast on Wednesday, blowing debris across railroad tracks, overturning tractor-trailers and making for choppy ferry rides.

More than 275,000 homes and businesses across the region lost power, and several airports reported morning delays of an hour or more.

The wind was blamed for at least one death, a 52-year-old man killed just north of New York City when a tree fell on his car, according to Sound Shore Hospital spokesman Sal Schiliro in New Rochelle.

Two tractor-trailers overturned during the morning commute, one tying up traffic at the George Washington Bridge that links New Jersey and New York City and the other shutting down the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York.

On the water, a ferry running from New Jersey to Manhattan "took a bounce between waves, and so the second wave washed over the bow," New York Waterway spokesman Pat Smith said. Smith there were no reports of injuries.

A fallen tree blocked commuter train traffic between Connecticut to New York's Grand Central Terminal. The wind was gusting to 68 mph along the lines early Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

"I guess I'll just wait _ it's the only thing we can really do," said commuter Joe Farrugio, who had moved into his in-laws' home in Pelham after strong wind knocked out power to his own home last weekend. "After all this, I'll probably not even go in."

The storm knocked out power to homes and businesses in several states: at least 94,000 in Connecticut, 70,000 in Massachusetts, 50,000 in New Jersey, 35,000 in the Philadelphia area, 18,000 in New York, and 3,700 in Rhode Island. In New Hampshire, a double whammy of freezing rain and high wind delayed school openings and left about 6,600 customers without power.

In Maryland, a storm-caused power-outage forced NASA to scrub its launch Wednesday of an unmanned spacecraft on a voyage to Pluto _ the power went out at the Maryland lab that is managing operations for the mission. NASA has until mid-February to launch the craft.

Flights were also delayed at airports across the region. Morning departures were delayed an average of one hour and 39 minutes at Newark International Airport and 56 minutes at New York's La Guardia Airport, where winds were gusting at 59 mph, the Port Authority said.

Wind gusts reached 40 mph at Boston's Logan International Airport Wednesday, said Massport spokesman Phil Orlandella, causing average flight delays of more than an hour.
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Dan Rockwell

Joined: 10 Dec 2001
Posts: 1988
Location: Stamford, CT, USA
PostThu Jan 19, 2006 5:16 pm  Reply with quote  

Though the damage caused by this storm was bad, the storm that we had here Saturday night/Sunday morning was much worse...That storm was the worst one that I have seen since Gloria hit us back in the 80's.

Repair crews in race against the elements

Jan 18, 2006

By Hoa Nguyen
Staff Writer

Published January 18 2006

While 650 homes and businesses were still without electricity last night for the third full day since near-hurricane-force winds ravaged the area, the town braced for another storm that is expected to bring more rain and strong winds today.

The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory and flood watch for most of today. Gusts could exceed 40 mph, meaning the area could see more downed trees and power lines as well as flooding, said Daniel Warzoha, the town's emergency management operations coordinator.

"The worst thing here is they make repairs and stuff gets damaged and they have to replace it again," he said.

The forecast comes as crews worked to restore electricity to about 3,000 Connecticut Light & Power customers yesterday. At the height of the storm, a third of the town, about 9,000 customers, were without electricity.

By 10 p.m. yesterday 430 customers in Stamford and another 654 in New Canaan, Darien, Westport and Wilton were still without power

"I can't tell if we're seeing light at the end of the tunnel or a train coming in the other direction," Warzoha said.

The storm that began Saturday night caused the most widespread damage seen in town in recent memory, according to electrical crews and town officials.

Bruce Spaman, superintendent of parks and trees, said crews were called to an unprecedented 125 incidents of downed trees or tree branches bringing down power lines.

"This was a fluke," Spaman said. "Nobody can remember anything like this happening. They don't remember this caliber storm."

While there were many cases of winds breaking apart large tree branches that fell on power lines, the gusts in many cases simply uprooted trees, which in turn toppled utility poles, Spaman said.

"The trees had a soaking rain before that," he said, adding that the rainfall probably made the soil around the tree roots unstable and vulnerable to high winds. "A large percentage, larger than I'm used to seeing, were picked up (by the wind)."

Spaman said crews have been working around the clock to help clear the roads, although they took a break late last night in anticipation of a busy day today.

"We're resting our people," he said last night. "We've had crews around the clock. Everybody is getting a rest now because almost all the roads are passable."

The customers that remained without power last night lived in small pockets across town, said CL&P spokesman Mitch Gross.

Larger pockets of outages were reported on Old King's Highway in Old Greenwich and on North Street, Lake Avenue, Clapboard Ridge Road and Buckfield Lane in backcountry and midcountry, Gross said. Crews were still working last night on restoring power.

"We're going to have to wait and see," Gross said. "I can't speculate. Job No. 1 is to get these customers up as quickly as we can."

Power outages and road conditions caused school officials to cancel classes yesterday although they are expected to reopen today, without any delays.

While most roads were passable, some others remained partially blocked, including Wooddale Road, which was taped off because of a downed transformer.

Officials said they worried that elderly and other vulnerable residents may be trapped in their houses and unable to ask for help.

Judith Cullen, the director of senior services for the Greenwich Department of Social Services, said employees called some of the department's most vulnerable clients to check up on them.

"We have not had any real emergency issues," she said.

But Warzoha did advise residents to check up on friends and neighbors who they think may need help. He also urged residents to stock up on necessities and to be prepared for the next potential emergency.

"This all goes back to that same thing, the stuff, we've been preaching," Warzoha said. "You need to be able to sustain yourself for 72 to 96 hours.",0,2691710.story
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