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Upper Valley Cleans Up After Storm; Many Still Without Power

  • David Monte signals to his wife and father-in-law that the power was back on at their Royalton, Vt., home Tuesday morning, Oct., 31, 2017. Sandra Monte was outside cooking eggs and bacon on a propane camp stove when power was restored. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Green Mountain Power lineman Chad Russell thinks through his next cut while removing a downed tree from power lines over Johnson Hill Road in Royalton, Vt., Tuesday, Oct., 31, 2017. "We're definitely not sure what we're going to find around each corner here," said Russell. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • As lines are fixed and power is restored in the field, distribution designer Carol Burke, left, works with her colleague Greg White, right, to keep the power outage data current at Green Mountain Power's district office in Royalton, Vt., Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. Tuesday afternoon there were still over 1,100 GMP customers without power in the Upper Valley. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Green Mountain Power linemen Mike Bent, left, and Chad Russell look over a broken utility pole that needs to be replaced in the woods off Johnson Hill Road in Royalton, Vt., Tuesday, Oct., 31, 2017. The company's Royalton District, which serves towns in the White River and Ottauquechee valleys, and north to Northfield, has the most off-road line in the state, making access for repairs difficult. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

West Lebanon — Road and utility crews made headway on Tuesday as they reopened highways and side streets and restored electricity to thousands of Upper Valley residents who lost power in a strong wind and rain storm that blew through the region on Sunday night.

But more than 100,000 people in New Hampshire remained without power on Tuesday evening, and an additional 30,000 Vermonters were in the dark.

Travel throughout the Upper Valley became easier as the day went on. State and town roads that had been impassable were reopened to at least one lane.

Floodwaters wreaked havoc on Route 25C near the Piermont/Warren, N.H., town line, but state crews worked quickly on Tuesday to patch the roadway and get it reopened, Emergency Management Director Bernie Marvin said.

“We are still functioning,” Marvin said. “All of the town roads in Piermont are open and usable.”

Some Piermont residents had internet and phone service restored around noontime on Tuesday, but about 70 percent of the town still was without power. Marvin remained optimistic.

“It’ll happen eventually,” he said. “We are pretty experienced with dealing with this stuff.”

In the Mascoma Valley, officials said portions of Route 4 that had been covered with floodwater — in downtown Canaan and West Canaan near South Road — had reopened and road crews continued to focus on town roads, several of which suffered washouts and tree and culvert damage.

Canaan Village Pizza, which had floodwaters lapping at its doors, escaped significant damage and was open for business on Tuesday.

Dorchester Deputy Emergency Management Director Rachel Legg said Route 118 had reopened to at least one travel lane.

“Things are looking better,” she said.

Green Mountain Power spokeswoman Kristin Carlson said utility crews had made progress and by Tuesday afternoon had restored power to more than 100,000 households and businesses. About 16,200 customers were still in the dark though.

Although progress had been made, she projected that residents in hard-hit areas could be without power into the weekend. “There is still a lot of damage out there,” Carlson said.

She called Sunday night’s storm “unique” in that it hit statewide instead of just in one particular part of the state. GMP had an estimated 325 lineworkers and 190 tree trimmers working on Tuesday. An additional 100 lineworkers were set to arrive today.

On Tuesday evening, Eversource reported that it had restored power to more than 220,000 New Hampshire customers and that crews continued to work to get about 90,000 remaining customers back online. Eversource expects the work to take through Friday in the most remote areas of the state. The New Hampshire Electric Co-op reported 25,500 outages, and Liberty Utilities said 1,200 customers were still without power.

The Vermont National Guard has opened seven armories, including one in the Upper Valley at 99 Fairground Road in Bradford, through Friday, to “allow the public to charge their cellphones, access running water and toilets, and warm up.”

Some towns have opened temporary shelters, including Piermont, which invites those in need to the congregational church. Two people had inquired about the shelter on Tuesday afternoon, but no one had utilized the service.

Meanwhile, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture issued a news release urging farmers who experienced damage from the storm to apply for emergency loans as soon as possible. Since Sunday night, more than 20 farmers had reported damage or problems, the release states.

“In many cases, agricultural structures like greenhouses, high tunnels, hoop barns and other mobile field shelters were significantly damaged,” the release states. “Several dairy farms continue to use generators to power milking operations, presenting additional logistical challenges.”

Vermont sugarmakers also have had their operations damaged.

A limited amount of emergency funding is available through the Vermont Farm Fund, which was established to help farmers bounce back from natural disasters. Farmers could be eligible to receive up to $10,000 with 0 percent interest, payable over 24 months, the release states. For additional information about the Vermont Farm Fund program, visit www.vermontfarmfund.org.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.