Power outages throughout the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire continued to climb today, as tree branches weighed down with foliage packed in snow, came down on power lines.
As of 8 a.m., more than 100,000 homes and businesses in the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire covered by The Eagle-Tribune circulation are were without electricity.
Shortly after 8:30 a.m., Comcast customers in Methuen reported to have their cable service interrupted. It is not known at this point how widespread the outage is.
More details to come.
A Comcast spokesperson says the service interruptions mirror the power outages. She said all available crews are working, but did not know if things would be working in time for this afternoon's televised Patriot's game from Pittsburgh.
It could be up to a week before power is restored to all PSNH customers in New Hampshire who have lost power, the utility's director of customer operations, David Bickford, said this morning.
It's easier to count people in Southern New Hampshire with power than those without. All three utilities - Public Service of New Hampshire, Unitil and New Hampshire Electric Co-op - are reporting significant outages. Restoration estimates are impossible to predict at this time.
As of this morning, PSNH reported 99.9 percent of its 4,877 customers in Windham were in the dark. In Derry, it was 86 percent or 12,060 people, without power. One hundred percent of the utility's customers in Atkinson and Danville were powerless, 131 and 230, respectively. PSNH had more problems in Hampstead, where 4,086 of its 4,326 customers were affected. Eighty-five percent of the company's 10,400 Londonderry customers were dark. In Sandown, it was 99 percent, 1,064
Until is bringing in about 300 additional crews from as far away as Michigan and Canada to help restore power here. As of 8:45 a.m., 3,624 of the utility's 4,054 customers in Plaistow were awaiting restoration. In Danville, all 1,471 customers were dark, as were 86 in Hampstead. Kingston numbers were 2,983 of 3,030 Unitil customers out. Just three Unitil customers in Newton had power, meaning 2,121 were out of luck. In Derry, just three Unitil customers were affected.
New Hampshire Electirc Co-op had its own troubles. In Sandown, just three of its customers had power this morning, which left 1,379 customers dark. In Derry, all of NHEC's 939 customers were affected. It was the same story in Londonderry, Kingston and Danville, with 100 percent outages, 206, 118 and 196, respectively.
The Derry Fire Department reported 22 roads closed just before 10 a.m.
A warming station is open at Londonderry High School for residents without heat. In Derry, there's a warming center at the municipal building.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Massachusetts and New Hampshire are without power.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency, allowing him to mobilize the National Guard to help hard-hit cities and towns in western and central parts of the state. Soldiers were out this morning helping chainsaw crews remove fallen trees so utility workers could get to downed wires.
"It's not only a lot of snow, but a lot of the heaviest wettest snow that you ever want to see out there," said Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
More than 650,000 customers woke up without power today. Crews were working to restore electricity to hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities first and could not say how long it might take to get power back on for everyone.
"This is not going to be a quick fix," Judge said. "It's totally smashing any historical records."
Before this weekend, most parts of Massachusetts had seen no more than an inch of snow from an October storm, with the record closer to 6 inches in higher elevations. Some places in western Massachusetts got as much as 29 inches from Saturday into Sunday.
At least one death was blamed on the storm, a 20-year-old Springfield man electrocuted when he stopped near police and firefighters examining downed wires, police Capt. William Collins said. Power was out in much of the city and lines were down all over.
Just two months ago, Irene knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people and some remained in the dark for a week, prompting complaints about how utilities responded.