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‘If you need to go out, be careful’: After nor’easter blasts coast, thousands may wait days for electricity

Ellis Street in Newton was closed as crews worked on a fallen tree on Wednesday.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

Following a powerful nor’easter that lashed the state with heavy rain and wind gusts topping 90 miles per hour, forecasters are predicting that Thursday will bring far calmer and “mainly dry weather” into at least part of Friday.

The strength of the storm downed trees and wires, blocking roads as a result. At one point, power was knocked out for nearly 500,000 customers in Massachusetts, hitting hardest in the southeastern part of the state.

Governor Charlie Baker warned at a news conference that the storm’s impacts were still being felt and said the restoration of power would be a “multi-day process.”


Officials at the news conference asked people to regard every downed wire as a live wire; to drive carefully and keep an eye out for tree branches, work crews, and flooded roads; to be good neighbors, and to be patient.

“Assume every wire is a live wire. If you need to go out, be careful,” said Baker.

More than a dozen schools on the South Shore and Cape Cod will remain closed on Thursday, largely due to power outages, school officials said, including Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School and schools in Carver, Marshfield, Duxbury, Plymouth, Stoughton, Orleans, Brockton, and the Whitman-Hanson Regional School District, according to officials.

Stonehill College in Easton closed its campus and canceled in-person classes for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday because of an outage there, the college said.

State officials late Wednesday morning reported more than 497,000 customers without power. The tally had dipped to 332,205 customers around 5:45 a.m. Thursday.

A number of coastal communities remained fully without power early Thursday morning, including Hingham, Cohasset, Norwell, Hanover, Pembroke, and Halifax.

A regional shelter was opened at Weymouth High School, according to a Twitter post from Abington police, who asked anyone planning to visit the shelter to notify them at 781-878-3232. Meanwhile, Wareham will open a warming center at the town Multi-Service Center at 8 a.m. Thursday, according to fire department officials. Visitors will be required to wear face masks.


In Brockton, where the fire department responded to more than 300 calls in 24 hours, Mayor Robert F. Sullivan declared a state of emergency that began Wednesday at noon.

Rhode Island also saw significant power outages. About 15,262 National Grid customers in Rhode Island were without power around 5:45 a.m. Thursday.

National Grid said over 2,400 workers were fanning out across the region to address the power outages.

“We’re seeing significant impact to our system as a result of downed trees, limbs, poles and wires, and we have also sustained damage to some transmission lines feeding substations, which results in wide-spread community outages,” said Michael McCallan, National Grid’s vice president of New England electric operations, in a statement.

A wind gust of 94 miles per hour was recorded in Edgartown at 4:31 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service, one of the multiple instances when gusts reached speeds of over 80 miles per hour on Cape Cod and coastal South Shore communities.

Over the course of Thursday, forecasters said wind gusts will continue to diminish, but that it would still be gusty throughout the day.

A tree brought down by a Fall Nor’Easter laid on top of a truck in Dorchester. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff) Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Abington police said earlier Wednesday evening that the town remained without power and that streetlights and traffic lights were not functioning, and they asked residents to stay off the roads for their safety.


Cohasset also remained without electricity Wednesday evening and expected full restoration to take more than 72 hours, Cohasset Police Chief William Quigley said in an e-mail shortly after 6 p.m. He encouraged residents to stay home and allow utility workers space to work.

In Duxbury, where police and fire responded to multiple trees down and a high volume of emergency calls, residents were advised to stay off the roads Wednesday evening, “due to the large amount of debris still in the roadways,” the department said on Twitter.

Town Hall will also be closed on Thursday, police said.

Delays occurred on multiple commuter rail lines during the storm, and Keolis Commuter Services said in a tweet that the damage is extensive even as the storm waned.

Ferry service was affected as well, including in Hingham as the MBTA works to “make repairs to the Hingham Dock,” the agency tweeted. Only a modified ferry service will operate to Hull.

The Steamship Authority, which had cancellations and delays on Tuesday and Wednesday, canceled the 6:30 a.m. ferry to Nantucket on Thursday, the agency said on its website.

Further disruptions are also possible “as the storm moves out to sea,” the agency said.

While the impact of the winds got the most attention, the weather service reported Wednesday that some communities, especially along the north and south coasts, had experienced heavy rainfall.


According to the weather service, Salem, Randolph, New Bedford, and Chilmark each received more than 3 inches of rain, and more than 30 communities recorded in excess of 2 inches of rainfall. In Rhode Island, the heaviest rainfall eclipsed 2 inches in Burrillville and Hope Valley, the weather service said.

The low pressure from Wednesday will continue to move offshore on Thursday, forecasters said. But clouds are likely to linger throughout most of the day towards the coast.

“A period of rain along with gusty winds is likely sometime from Friday afternoon into Saturday,” forecasters said. “Dry and seasonable conditions return for Halloween Sunday and the start of November.”

Gillie Rezendes of Artistic Autobody pulled the fence that was blown onto Middle Street in Fairhaven.PETER PEREIRA/The Standard-Times/via AP

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