HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A severe storm packing hurricane force wind gusts and soaking rain swept through the Northeast early Monday, knocking out power for more than 1.2 million and forcing hundreds schools to close in New England.
Falling trees knocked down power lines across the region, and some utility companies warned customers that power could be out for a few days.
New England appeared to get the brunt of the storm, which brought sustained winds of up to 50 mph in some spots. A gust of 130 mph was reported at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire, while winds hit 82 mph in Mashpee on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
In the Boston suburb of Brookline, Helene Dunlap said her power went out after she heard a loud “kaboom” around 1:30 a.m. Monday. She went outside hours later to find a large tree had fallen on a neighboring home.
“It really shook the whole place up,” she said. “It was such a dark, stormy night that looking out the window we really couldn’t determine what was going on.”
Kathleen Buccheri’s home in Glastonbury, Connecticut, lost power around midnight. She had to forgo her morning shower and couldn’t make coffee in the morning.
“Just high, high, high winds,” said Buccheri, who does therapeutic recreation work with the elderly. “I saw flashes of light and heard booms. I think it was the transformers.”
She said she stocked up on some food and other supplies as soon as she heard the storm was coming.
“You’re in New England. You’ve got to be ready,” she said.
Maine and New Hampshire also got pounded. The Portland International Jetport in Maine recorded a wind gust of 69 mph, and the Amtrak Downeaster service canceled a morning run due to down trees on the tracks.
“We need about 24 to 48 hours to really get a good handle on what the scope of the damage is,” Seth Wheeler, a spokesman for New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, told WMUR-TV. “We’ll be making restorations along the way, but this is going to be a multiple-day event.”
He added, “I think if you’re without power at this time, you should expect to remain without power, possibly for a number of days.”
The storm began making its way up the East Coast on Sunday, which also was the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. That 2012 storm devastated the nation’s most populous areas, was blamed for at least 182 deaths in the U.S. and Caribbean and more than $71 billion in damage in this country alone.
The Meriden Humane Society in Connecticut put out a call for volunteers on its Facebook page Sunday night to help deal with flooding in its dog kennels. A couple of hours later, the humane society thanked the volunteers who turned out to help dig a “major trench” to drain water away from the building.
“Thanks to all of you, our dogs will be sleeping very comfortably and most importantly very dry,” the society wrote on its Facebook page.
The same storm system also caused problems earlier Sunday in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. On the shoreline in Bayonne, New Jersey, a large barge was found washed up after apparently breaking free from its moorings during the storm.
In New York, the rush hour got off to a rocky start as service on Metro-North’s Danbury Branch in Connecticut was suspended due to a mudslide and signal power problems. Part of the Long Island Rail Road’s Ronkonkoma Branch was halted because of power lines on the tracks. Video posted on Twitter showed unhappy commuters crowding a station.