EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As thousands remain without power in Southern New England following an intense nor’easter, National Grid has crews working around the clock to restore it.
However, National Grid spokesperson Ted Kresse told Eyewitness News those restoration efforts may continue into the weekend.
Kresse said the estimated time of restoration in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island is 11 p.m. Saturday, adding that it is a “worst-case scenario” and most customers will have power back before then.
The coastal storm moved in Wednesday night and continued into Thursday morning, dumping several inches of rain and bringing gusts of wind that topped out at 70 mph.
The wind downed trees and powerlines throughout the region. National Grid said it has nearly 1,300 crews in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island working to restore power.
Immediately following the storm, more than 200,000 people were without power between the two states. As of 10:30 a.m. Friday, more than 7,400 customers in Rhode Island were still without service. That number was higher in Massachusetts, with more than 35,717 National Grid customers and more than 27,000 Eversource customers without electricity.
“We know losing power can be frustrating for our customers, and we understand and empathize with this,” New England Electric Operations Vice President Michael McCallan said. “We have crews on the ground throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island, making repairs and working to restore power in challenging conditions as quickly and as safely as possible. We will not stop until every customer has their electricity back.”
Power Outage Database: Interactive Map and Safety Information »
Traffic lights in Westerly stopped working due to widespread power outages Thursday morning. Officers could be seen directing traffic at some of the town’s busiest intersections.
A National Grid communicator posted on Twitter saying a large tree that took down two sub-transmission stations in Westerly is a big contributor to the town’s extensive outages.
Safety tips and advice from National Grid:
- Never touch downed power lines, and always assume that any fallen lines are live electric wires. If you see one, report it immediately to National Grid or your local emergency response organization.
- Power problems can sometimes interrupt public water supply systems or disable well pumps, so it’s an especially good idea to keep a supply of bottled drinking water handy, as well as some canned food.
- People who depend on electric-powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should let National Grid know. To register as a life support customer, call the company’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-322-3223.
- Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage period.
- If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to operate it outdoors. Before operating generators, disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could jeopardize the safety of line crews and the public.
- If you lose power, turn off any appliances that were on when the power went off, but leave one light on so you will know when power is restored.
- Reminder: It’s not safe to work in an elevated bucket during periods of increased wind gusts higher than 35 mph. Lineworkers will begin restoration work only when conditions are deemed safe.
Residents throughout Southern New England are continuing to assess the damage left behind by the storm’s strong winds and heavy rain.
In Westerly, one tree not only fell onto a woman’s car – it also resulted in a broken nose.
Denise Petrone said she spent half of her day in the hospital after dodging the falling tree as it took down some power lines in front of her home.
“I ran because the sparks started flying and I fell down over there and broke my nose in two places,” Petrone said. “It was bad, almost like a tornado coming through here. The trees were snapping like crazy.”
The tree smashed her car’s windshield and knocked out power to her home. She said line crews told her she won’t have power back for another two days.
Despite this, Petrone is now counting her blessings, knowing things could’ve been much worse.
“Everybody says things can be replaced but you can’t,” she said. “I guess we’re just lucky it didn’t hit the house.”
In Fairhaven, one resident told Eyewitness News a 100-year-old tree in his front year snapped during the storm.
“All of a sudden, I looked back out and the tree was missing,” Christopher Tripp recalled. “There was a little branch that cracked and we heard that yesterday, and then this morning, it’s like, ‘Woah, did that just happen?'”
The National Weather Service reported wind gusts in the Fairhaven area reached around 80 mph during the height of the storm.
Tripp said it was sad to see the tree toppled over, especially because his wife’s family grew up alongside it.
The heavy rain also caused some localized street flooding overnight and into the morning hours.
Cancelations and Closings
Westerly Public Schools were closed a second day due to power issues, as was the Westerly Library.
The Bradley School in Providence was also closed.
For a complete list of closings and delays, check the Pinpoint Closing Network.
The Block Island Ferry said it has resumed all service Friday and ferries were running on schedule.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has closed Point Judith Pond to shellfishing because of the intense rainfall.
The DEM said the storm dumped 4 inches of rain into the pond, which could lead to high bacteria counts.