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A powerful nor’easter thrashed Massachusetts overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday, producing wind gusts topping 90 miles per hour, downing trees, and leaving hundreds of thousands of customers without power.

Nearly 400,000 customers were without power as of Wednesday evening, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, with the outages concentrated along the South Shore and Cape Cod. A high wind warning was in effect along Massachusetts’ coast until late afternoon, with forecasters warning that widespread power outages were expected as a result of damaging winds.

National Grid and Eversource said Wednesday their crews were working to clear areas of trees and debris that had fallen onto power lines to restore power.


Here’s what state officials recommend you do if you’re among those without power.

Stay away from downed wires

MEMA officials said residents should avoid downed power lines and assume a downed power line is live. Contact local emergency officials to report a downed line if you see one.

Eversource recommends that people “stay as far away as possible [from] all fallen tree limbs and electrical wires,” including anything they are touching, like puddles and metal fences. If you’re in a car and a downed power line is on the road, stay in your car until emergency crews respond. The utility recommends you don’t drive over a downed line, and if one is in or near water — even if it’s a small puddle — keep your distance from that, too.

Using generators

Officials recommend a number of precautions when it comes to using generators, which should only be used outside because their fumes contain carbon monoxide.

If you’re using a generator, officials recommend placing it away from doors, windows, and vents. Officials caution against using one inside a house, basement, or crawl space and recommend placing a generator 20 feet away from the house.


Appliances should be plugged in directly into the generator, or you can use heavy-duty, outdoor extension cords. You shouldn’t exceed the number of outlets on the generator, and make sure the cords don’t have cuts or tears, state officials say.

The generator should be kept dry and hands should be dried before touching it.


State officials recommend using flashlights instead of candles. If candles must be used, place them in safe holders away from anything that could catch fire, and don’t leave a candle unattended.

What to do around the house

Officials recommend unplugging sensitive electronics to avoid a power surge when power is restored.

You should also keep your fridge and freezer doors closed. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours, state officials say, and a full freezer will maintain the temperature for about 48 hours.

Be safe when using space heaters, fireplaces, and a wood stove to heat your home.

Amanda Kaufman can be reached at amanda.kaufman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.