Live Winter Storm Updates: Heavy Snow and High Winds Hit New England
In Massachusetts, more than 81,000 utility customers are now without power on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, according to outage maps from Eversource and the National Grid. Eversource provides electricity to Cape and Vineyard, while National Grid covers Nantucket.
Those numbers represent the bulk of outages in Massachusetts, a tally influenced by high winds and heavy snow hammering the region. While nearly all of Provincetown’s 5,974 customers remain without power, larger Cape Town communities are also feeling the brunt of the storm’s effects, with 17,257 outages reported in Barnstable and 12,460 in Falmouth, according to Eversource.
At a news conference on Friday, Eversource officials said they had hundreds of crews ready to respond to the area, but warned residents it could be days before the current not fully recovered.
Brian Sullivan, the company’s director of electrical operations, said the company takes care of the biggest outages first to get the “biggest value for money”.
Additionally, crews are prioritizing restoring power to critical infrastructure, such as hospitals, police stations and fire stations, according to Eversource spokesman Christopher McKinnon.
For Stephen Boyson, 61, of Dennis, Mass., losing power could be life-threatening. He has been running his oxygen machine from a generator since the power went out at 9.30am on Saturday, but fears he will continue to rely on it if power does not return.
“You don’t like to be on a machine to survive,” Mr. Boyson said, “If it breaks down I’m in trouble because I need the machine I’m on, and the conditions are so bad that I don’t. I don’t know how the ambulance or the fire truck would get here.
More than 600 line crews, more than 200 shaft crews and more than 200 wreckers were called in to help, McKinnon said.
Crews, who come from as far away as Florida, will typically work 18 hours on six hours off, said Sullivan, who didn’t expect to get much sleep during the storm. “But we are used to it,” he said.
Sullivan said crews are sometimes forced to wait for the power to go out in an area before they can get to work and warned residents to stay away from downed lines because it’s difficult to make the difference between power lines and telephone lines. Crews will not board bucket trucks when it is unsafe to do so, such as in high winds, Mr. Sullivan and Mr. McKinnon said.
“Just give our teams space, let them do the work and be safe,” Sullivan said.
At noon Saturday, a wind gust of 72 miles per hour was reported in the town of Chatham, Cape Cod, and a gust of 74 mph was reported in Nantucket, according to the National Weather Service. Gusts between 45mph and 70mph were reported in other parts of Cape Town and the islands.
Snow has also started to pile up, with eight inches at Harwich on Cape Cod, with drifts over a foot.