Governor Lynch and NH Emergency Officials Expecting More Residents to Turn to Shelters Before Power is Restored

Posted by erik devaney

Governor John Lynch

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The drip of melting snow gave thousands of New Hampshire residents hope that their electricity soon would be restored, but Gov. John Lynch advised them not to wait it out in the cold in the meantime.

Lynch and state emergency officials are expecting more people to go to shelters before power can be restored to homes thrust into the dark by a historic October snowstorm that dumped more than 30 inches of snow on parts of the state. With nearly 200 schools closed Monday and several communities postponing trick-or-treating, it was more like Christmas vacation than Halloween.

Lynch said 315,000 homes and businesses were without power at the storm’s peak, making it the third worst in the state’s history. The highest recorded power outage was in December 2008 when an ice storm knocked out electricity to about 430,000 customers — more than half the state. Some had no power for two weeks.

A wind storm in February 2010 affected 360,000 customers.

Over 200,000 customers still were without power Monday morning and it could take up to a week for the lights to be back on in some areas.

Public Utilities Commission Chairman Tom Getz said the damage from the snowstorm is labor intensive because most of the downed lines were caused by broken branches. He predicted power would be restored more quickly than was the case with the ice storm, which took down poles.

Temperatures are expected to rise into the 50s during the day by week’s end, but nighttime temperatures are forecast to be below freezing.

“It will be cold in the evenings,” Lynch told reporters at a briefing on the storm.

Lynch said that could mean more people will seek the warmth at shelters. He said 243 people stayed in shelters Sunday night. Nine shelters are open with a 1,200-bed capacity.

The snow forced some communities to postpone Halloween trick-or-treating from Sunday to Monday. In Manchester, which scheduled its time for Monday night after years of holding it on the Sunday before the holiday, postponed trick-or-treating to Sunday, Nov. 6. A notice on the city’s web site said the uncertainty of roads, sidewalks, traffic lights and downed power lines made it too risky now.

“I don’t really care, ’cause then we have extra time to sled and ski, so that’s good,” said Allen Gawlowicz, 10, of Bedford, who was sledding at the popular Bragdon Farm hill in Amherst on Monday.

Kimberly Ayers, of Amherst, who was at the hill with her children, said her kids were excited to play in the snow but disappointed that trick-or-treating was postponed.

“But that gives us a little bit more time for the snow to melt. I don’t know how we would’ve been hiking through all this,” she said.

Her home still was in the dark Monday afternoon, but she shrugged it off.

“We just break out the flashlights, stoke up the woodstove and read a lot of books, play games,” she said. “It’s not the end of the world. It’s kind of fun the first 24 hours.”

Lynch planned Monday to ask the federal government for an emergency declaration that could mean state and local governments would qualify for federal help with the storm cleanup. If approved, the federal government would pay 75 percent of the cost. Lynch said no estimate of the cost has been tallied. He said he has asked local governments to keep track of their costs.

“No matter how you look at it, that makes it easier,” said Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.

Gatsas said he has no idea yet what it will cost the city. He said crews are still working to remove trees on streets.

“There’s no question it was a very severe storm,” he said.

Chris Pope, director of state Homeland Security and Emergency Management, cautioned people to be careful clearing debris, especially trees around power lines. Assume any power lines are live, he said.

“Those trees and branches are tangled with wires,” he said.

State Fire Marshal William Degnan warned homeowners against clearing trees from houses and cars on their own.

“That tree could roll and crush you,” he said.

Such danger was far from the minds of the children enjoying a sunny day of sledding in Amherst.

“I’ve never seen Halloween with snow in my life so I think I’ll remember that,” said Gawlowicz.


Kathy McCormack contributed to this story from Concord, N.H.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

Related posts:

  1. A State-by-State Look at Storm-Related Power Outages in New England
  2. The Latest on Storm Recovery and Power Restoration Efforts in MA; 500,000 Still Without Power, 1,300 in Shelters
  3. Halloween Trick-or-Treating Canceled or Postponed in Several MA Cities and Towns Due to Snowstorm
  4. Conn. Governor Seeks Federal Emergency Declaration
  5. Storm Socks New Hampshire, Knocks Out Power to 315,000

Short URL:

Posted by erik devaney on Oct 31 2011. Filed under Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Our Authors

Follow New England Post

Log in | Maintained by BlackDoor Creative