BOSTON — Winds close to hurricane strength swept across parts of the northeastern U.S. on Wednesday morning, toppling trees, downing power lines and leaving many thousands of residents without power.
The National Weather Service reported that winds gusted as high as 72 mph near Boston around 7 a.m. before leveling off through the morning. Power lines were down around the region.
More than 120,000 utility customers lost power in Maine, where a high wind warning was issued through the afternoon. Central Maine Power, the state’s largest utility, said gusts as high as 40 mph prevented crews from using bucket trucks to repair lines.
More than 65,000 customers in Massachusetts had lost power by 9 a.m., according to the state’s Emergency Management Agency, but within an hour the figure had dropped to about 45,000.
Rhode Island and Connecticut each had more than 20,000 customers without power, leading some schools to move classes online or cancel them entirely.
Toppled trees snarled traffic in parts of Massachusetts, including in Boston, where a large tree blocked the exit ramp from busy Storrow Drive to Massachusetts General Hospital. State Police said on Twitter that the ramp would be closed for an “extended period of time” while a contractor was called in to remove the tree.
Fire officials in Plympton, Massachusetts, said firefighters responded to calls for trees and wires down or on fire. In one case, a tree landed on a car with adults and children in it, the fire department said on Twitter. No injuries were reported.
The weather service issued wind advisories for much of New England through Wednesday morning, but the strongest winds were expected to pass through by midafternoon.