EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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October 30, 2012

Storm badly hurts 1, knocks out power to thousands

Superstorm Sandy’s slow and steady path through the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire yesterday halted everything from commuter trains to campaigns, caused both minor road flooding and major beach erosion, and managed to down power lines and trees while lifting the spirits of many school children who saw school called off for a second day.

There was one serious injury resulting from yesterday’s hurricane. In Windham, N.H., a man was critically injured when a tree fell onto his car on Range Road about 5 p.m. The road was closed while emergency crews responded. No further details were available. In Massachusetts, there were no reported storm deaths.

As of last night, nearly 400,000 Massachusetts and 120,000 New Hampshire customers remained without power, most losing electricity in the late afternoon as the Sandy kicked up wind gusts of over 50 mph in Lawrence and 62 mph in Londonderry. Methuen had the highest number of homes without power, with 7,391 out as of 9 p.m. last night. At 4:15 p.m. yesterday, 99 percent of PSNH’s 4,900 customers were without power.

The storm took its time arriving here, but seemed to peak between 2 and 5 p.m. with some heavy bands of rain and wind gusts between 50 and 60 mph, according to the National Weather Service. The Methuen Police Department fielded over 45 storm-related reports from 4:30 to 6 p.m. alone, including downed trees, wires or poles on Albion, Brookfield, Center, East, High, Howe, Joffrey, Lowell, Myrtle, Pelham, Pleasant, Pleasant Valley, Prospect, Railroad, Sawyer, Wheeler and Woburn streets; Glen, Lyndale, McKinley, Merriline, Newbury, Oakland and Olive avenues; and Carriage Way, Haymeadow Road, Indian Summer Lane and Riverside Drive.

Politicians surrendered to the storm. Democratic Vice President Joe Biden canceled a rally planned for yesterday in Keene and Republican Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann Romney, called off her bus tour through the Granite State. Both campaigns urged supporters to donate money, goods or supplies for the relief effort for Sandy victims. Mitt Romney had planned to hold a rally in Milford on Tuesday night, but that also was canceled, as was first lady Michelle Obama’s appearance at the University of New Hampshire.

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