More than 600,000 customers throughout New England were without power on Wednesday morning after a nor’easter pounded the region with hurricane-force winds.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency reported the widespread power outages Wednesday morning as areas along the coast experienced wind gusts of 80-90 miles per hour, with more and more power outages reported each hour.
At 4am, NBC Boston reports, there were 135,229 power outages throughout the state, but by 6.30am, the number of outages more than tripled to 407,535.
A total of 493,730 customers in Massachusetts were without power by 9.30am, and another 133,000 customers were without power across the other five New England states as of 7.30am.
The National Weather Service in Boston, meanwhile, warned of a ‘dangerous situation’ near and southeast of I-95, tweeting Wednesday morning that winds were gusting over hurricane speeds across southeast Massachusetts, bringing down numerous trees.
It warned: ‘Travel is not recommended early this morning in southeast Massachusetts’ as a high wind warning remained in effect through late Wednesday afternoon for southeast Massachusetts and southern Rhode Island.
The alert came just one day after the nor’easter caused widespread flooding across New York and New Jersey, where emergency service crews carried out dozens of rescues.
The storm was just south of Nantucket Wednesday morning, National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Loconto told the New York Times, but was expected to move out to sea later in the day, with rain showers tapering off by the afternoon.
‘That should bring about a decrease in wind gusts,’ he said, but noted that Boston could still see gusts up to 55 miles per hour and Cape Cod could see winds near 65 miles per hour.
‘It’s still pretty dangerous across Cape Cod and also at times in the Boston area,’ he said.
A powerful nor’easter swept through New England on Tuesday night, leaving many downed trees in its wake
The storm delivered hurricane-force winds to the coastal communities of Massachusetts, causing a large tree to fall onto a pickup truck in Fairhaven on Wednesday morning
Fallen trees also blocked roadways and caused traffic concerns
The National Weather Service warned residents not to travel on Wednesday morning, as trees blocked the roads and caused extensive damage to some cars
The National Weather Service tweeted that winds were gusting over hurricane speeds across southeast Massachusetts
During the height of the storm, wind gusts exceeded 90 mph, with one gust in Edgartown, on Martha’s Vineyard, measured at 94mph around 4.30am Wednesday.
Overnight winds also surpassed any records this year, according to ML Baron, who operates a weather station in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, telling the Times that had the storm occurred during the winter, it would have been a ‘catastrophic blizzard,’ setting the region back for weeks.
Still, he said, coastal areas in Massachusetts saw ‘the damage and destruction hurricane force winds can deliver,’ recounting how he heard two men on a boat docked near New Bedford calling the Coast Guard for a rescue shortly before 5am on Wednesday, because the dock had disintegrated and live power lines were in the water around them.
‘They were trapped, they couldn’t get off the boat,’ Baron said, until rescuers carried them back safely to land.
Nearby, at the New Bedford Regional Airport, a small plane was picked up and thrown by the nor’easters strong winds.
Assistant airport manager Michael Crane told WPRI the Cessna’s engine had been removed for maintenance, causing the frame to be lighter than usual during the storm.
Strong winds, between 47 and 60 miles per hour, then picked up the plane, breaking the straps that tied it down, and dropped it into the middle of a street some time between 5.30 and 6.30am, causing extensive damage to the small plane.
Fortunately, no one was injured, and airport personnel were able to pull the plane over a fence and strap it down again.
Numerous trees were also down throughout the Massachusetts coast, disrupting power, blocking roadways and causing extensive damage to cars and houses.
The Duxbury Fire Department tweeted that 94 percent of the town was without power on Wednesday morning
It said: ‘It is reasonable to expect full restoration could take days’ with the amount of damage the area received
Most of the outages Wednesday morning, about 300,000, were reported in Barnstable and Plymouth counties, which cover Cape Cod and coastal areas south of Boston, according to NBC News.
All schools on the Cape have been closed, according to the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee, and the town of Duxbury’s Fire Department tweeted: ‘We are seeing major damage across town.’
The department tweeted photos of downed trees wrecking cars, trucks and even some houses in the area.
It noted that 94 percent of the town in Plymouth county had no power as of Wednesday morning, and ‘It is reasonable to expect full restoration could take days.’
‘We are also assessing the need for a warming center,’ the department tweeted, as temperatures are expected to remain in the low 50s on Thursday and Friday.
The department also warned that ‘winds will continue to be very strong this afternoon’ and ‘coastal flooding is also a concern.’
In Boston, meanwhile, downed trees disrupted parts of the Red Line and Mattapan Trolley service, according to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which deployed replacement shuttle buses throughout the area, and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency warned people to ‘avoid downed power lines, check on neighbors and use generators outside, away from buildings.’
The Massachusetts Steamship Authority, which runs ferries from the mainland to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, also said it was canceling all services until further notice, and warned people not to attempt to get to its terminals and stay off the ‘extremely dangerous’ roads.
Fisherman Adam Lurch was seen fishing from the rocks of Eastern Point along the Long Island Sound in Groton, Connecticut as the worst of the storm approached on Tuesday
Gillie Rezendes, of Artistic Autobody, pulls the fence that was blown onto Middle Street in Fairhaven, Massachusetts
A wave crashed into the retaining wall of a home in Fairhaven, Massachusetts on Tuesday
Sandbags were laid out to protect businesses along Holmes Street in the seaside town of Mystic, Connecticut
In Connecticut, power lines came down on a school bus headed to Middletown High School on Wednesday morning. No injuries were reported. Six students were on the bus, which continued its route after emergency responders removed the power lines.
About 15,000 homes and businesses in the state were without power Wednesday morning.
The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority also closed the Newport Pell and Jamestown Verrazzano Bridges due to wind gusts of 70 mph early Wednesday morning, then reopened them shortly after to most vehicles, but school buses were still not permitted to cross.
The damages came just one day after the storm drenched New York and New Jersey, causing widespread flooding.
New York City saw almost four inches of rain in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn over the course of 24 hours, NBC News reported, and widespread flooding in New Jersey forced several high-water rescues as rivers quickly reached their banks after the state received more than three inches by 7am, according to NJ.com.
In Union Beach, New Jersey alone, CNN reported, there had been over a dozen water rescues throughout the night.
No injuries were reported in any of the rescues and no one has required any first aid or hospital care, Police Chief Michael J. Woodrow said.
‘Fortunately, our highly trained officers are able to reach traditionally inaccessible areas with these vehicles, especially when time is of the essence,’ he said, noting: ‘Our playbook was created from lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy as well as other meteorological events.’
He added that the town has also received ‘countless’ calls for service and multiple vehicles have been submerged in water, as state troopers reported they responded to 188 accidents and 81 motorist aid calls.
But by Wednesday morning, only about 14,590 New York homes remained without power, the Times reports, and public transit was running smoothly, with few unplanned delays.