EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 19, 2014

Unexpected afternoon snow storm hits region

Power outages affect 2,600 homes and businesses in Methuen and Haverhill

Several inches of wet and heavy snow seemed to catch most of the Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire off guard yesterday, creating treacherous road conditions for drivers while knocking out electricity for hundreds of homes and businesses throughout the region.

The lights went out for many of those customers soon after 3 p.m.

At about 4:20 p.m., National Grid reported 2,688 homes and businesses in Essex County were without power — 1,836 of them were from in Haverhill and 816 in Methuen. The utility’s officials estimated power would be back within an hour

Most of the power was restored by 6:30 p.m. in both communities.

Meteorologist Ryan Breton said the storm came as a bit of a surprise to most people.

“It was certainly unexpected,” Breton said. “It was suppose to change to rain early on, however, it started as rain then quickly turned into snow because of the wind.”

Brenton said the snow looked light and fluffy but that wasn’t the case.

“They were big flat flakes with a thick consistency to them which caused a lot of the power outages,” he said.

He said that Merrimack Valley accumulated close to six inches of snow.

Meanwhile, travel on area roads proved hazardous as snow plows tried to clear the roads as soon as possible.

Methuen Police Department tweeted at about 1:00 p.m. that the roads were becoming slick in the area and cautioned drivers to drive carefully.

However, that didn’t stop the various motor vehicles accidents that occurred throughout the Valley and in New Hampshire towns.

Massachusetts State Police said that in the span of four hours, there were eight minor accidents in Haverhill on the city’s major highways.

At 11:00 a.m., a woman from New Hampshire was transported to Lawrence General Hospital after she smashed her car into the guardrail near Interstate 495 South. Twitter accounts reported that the woman was five months pregnant. But State Police could not confirm the reports. Her injuries are believed to be minor.

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