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News / Nation & World

Cleanup begins as spring nor’easter moves on. But hundreds of thousands still lack power

By DAVE COLLINS, Associated Press
Published: April 5, 2024, 7:52am
3 Photos
A portion of Route 9 between Falmouth and Cumberland is closed as crews work to remove a downed tree spanning the snow-covered roadway in Falmouth, Maine, Thursday, April 4, 2024, following a spring snowstorm.
A portion of Route 9 between Falmouth and Cumberland is closed as crews work to remove a downed tree spanning the snow-covered roadway in Falmouth, Maine, Thursday, April 4, 2024, following a spring snowstorm. (Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via AP) Photo Gallery

Snow showers lingered Friday as the cleanup began following a major spring storm that brought heavy snow, rain and high winds to the Northeast, left hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without power, and contributed to at least two deaths.

Well over a foot (30 centimeters) of snow, accompanied by gusty winds, was reported in many parts of northern New England by Thursday evening. Some areas got closer to 2 feet (61 centimeters).

“This is a lot of heavy, wet snow,” said Shawn Black, manager of the Wolfeboro Inn in New Hampshire, which got over a foot. “And the wind is out of the northeast, so it’s really not nice in a sense of temperature-wise, especially when the speed gets up to gusts of 55 mph. While I was out on the snowblower I could really feel my forehead just go numb.”

Stowe, Vermont, reported 20 inches (50.8 centimeters) of snow, the National Weather Service office in Burlington reported. The agency’s office in Gray, Maine, said it had 17.4 inches (44.2 centimeters). The Concord Municipal Airport in New Hampshire was on the lower end, at 7.4 inches (18.7 centimeters).

Low pressure meandering through the Gulf of Maine will mean continued snow showers over northern New York, New England, and the spine of the Appalachians in West Virginia from Friday into Saturday, the weather service said.

The snow has created the potential for avalanches in the back country of the Green Mountains in Vermont and the high peaks of the northern Adirondacks in New York, the weather service said.

“Outdoor enthusiasts heading into the back country on Friday to snowshoe or ski, need to be aware of the avalanche danger, the risks involved and take the appropriate precautions,” the service said in a statement.

In West Virginia, flooding was expected to continue along the Ohio River into the weekend. The weather service warned motorists to be extremely careful, since backwater flooding can occur along other rivers, streams and creeks miles from the Ohio.

In New England, utility crews worked overnight to restore power and assess damage, including downed poles and wires and blocked roads. Nearly 700,000 customers, most of them in Maine and New Hampshire, were without electricity at one point.

“We’ll be out there working around the clock as part of our multi-day effort to restore power to our remaining customers,” Central Maine Power said in a statement late Thursday.

Some customers were affected for the second time in less than a week after losing power during an ice storm last weekend.

“Be patient, we’re not going to rest until the last customer is restored,” said Doug Foley, president of New Hampshire Electric Operations for Eversource Energy.

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The weather service said it was the biggest April nor’easter — a type of storm with winds blowing from the northeast that either exits or moves north along the East Coast — to hit the region since 2020.

Heavy snow made travel treacherous in northern New England and New York, and vehicle crashes were reported. The storm brought mostly heavy rain to southern parts of the Northeast, as well as high winds.

A tree fell on a vehicle Wednesday and killed a woman in Armonk in New York’s Westchester County, police said. In Derry, New Hampshire, officials said a woman died and another was hospitalized after a house fire Thursday sparked by an explosion. A tree had fallen on the house near propane tanks.

Despite the dangers, some hardy New Englanders took the weather in stride.

“It’s special to get snow in April and to be able to get out and enjoy it,” said Jane Phillips, cross-country skiing in her neighborhood in Portland, Maine. “It’s fun being a Mainer.”

Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Patrick Whittle and Holly Ramer in Boston; Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire; Karen Matthews in New York; Sarah Brumfield in Silver Spring, Maryland; John Raby in Charleston, West Virginia; Jackie Quinn in Washington; and Lisa Baumann in Bellingham, Washington.

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