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Looking for a warm port in the storm

Without power since Tuesday night, Frank Nameika, 88, (left) and his son Jack, chatted in Scituate in Frank’s family room.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Just before 2 p.m. Saturday, a white utility truck with yellow flashing lights drove over the Hull line into Cohasset, passing by Maureen McCarthy’s dark house.

“Hi! Don’t leave! Don’t leave!,” she said as the truck drove out of sight.

It’s been that kind of week for McCarthy, who lost electricity Tuesday night during an intense autumn nor’easter that pounded southeastern Massachusetts and initially cut power to nearly 500,000 customers.

She likened National Grid’s estimates for power restoration to New England’s fickle weather.

“Wait a minute and it will change,” McCarthy said. National Grid’s latest information indicated the power would be restored by 11:45 p.m. Saturday.

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“I’m holding no faith in that because it said that three days in a row,” she said.

It’s never easy to be last in line to get power back on, but that was reality Saturday evening for about 16,600 utility customers, the state said.

Adding to their predicament were predictions for more rain. The National Weather Service was forecasting showers beginning Saturday afternoon and heavy rain with wind gusts through the night, not the high winds that brought down trees and power lines earlier in the week, but still with the threat of more power outages.

Sunday’s weather is expected to improve with the National Weather Service forecasting sunshine and temperatures in the 60s for Halloween.

National Grid spokesman Ted Kresse said it’s normal for outage numbers to fluctuate during power restoration efforts. At 3 p.m. Saturday, he said 237 customers in Cohasset remained in the dark. The storm had initially knocked out power to all of Cohasset and school was canceled for three days, said Town Manager Chris Senior.

Senior, who was a local official in North Hempstead, N.Y., during Superstorm Sandy, praised National Grid for the effort it put into restoring power in Cohasset, but noted the local utility service in neighboring Hingham fared much better during the nor’easter.

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Cohasset loses electricity “far more frequently than we should,” Senior said, and because of that, the community is seeking a federal grant to establish a power grid to support its public facilities.

“We all hope that the grid can become more resilient,” he said.

Marybeth White, who lives in the West Corner neighborhood, where Hull, Cohasset, and Hingham meet, kept her power going thanks to a natural gas-powered generator. Even though White lives in Hingham, she said her residence is among a handful of homes serviced by National Grid, instead of the municipal power company.

White said she installed the generator about six years ago when a power outage disabled a sump pump in her residence during a storm and her basement flooded.

“We’ve had to do this because we lose power so often,” she said.

Bill and Anne Charron lost electricity early Wednesday morning after a maple tree estimated to be 250 to 300 years old crashed into their home on Cohasset Common and tore power lines off of the residence.

“It sounded like a plane just landing in our driveway,” said Bill Charron.

Now the tree, which Charron’s 5-year-old grandson nicknamed George, has been cut into dozens of pieces. But there’s a silver lining. A squirrel who stored nuts in a hole on a lower branch survived the tree’s fall, Charron said. Like the tree, Charron’s grandson called the squirrel George.

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George the squirrel, Charron said, has been busy trying to salvage food from the toppled tree.

“He was coming back getting his nuts out of the hole. He had a stash in there,” he said.

Jack Nameika of Revere drove to Scituate on Tuesday to ride out the storm with his 88-year-old father, Frank, who lives alone.

His house on Pratt Road lost power Tuesday night. By Saturday, Frank Nameika said the outdoors felt warmer than the interior of his house, where he was using a downstairs fireplace for heat.

“It’s balmy out there now,” he said.

Jack Nameika recalled being in Scituate during the Perfect Storm in October 1991. He said the wind damage from the nor’easter of last week far surpassed what he witnessed 30 years ago.

“This is the worst wind I’ve seen. I’ve never seen more tree damage here since then,” Jack Nameika said.

Next door, the storm uprooted three trees in the yard of Dayna Tenore Among the uprooted trees was an oak that crashed into three maples preventing it from crashing into the back of home where Tenore, 48, lives with her mother and 10-year-old daughter, Jordyn.

“It’s been a little crazy,” she said.

On Thursday, she got her family’s old generator to work, restoring heat to house and powering two refrigerators and some electrical outlets.

Tenore’s late father, Anthony, purchased the generator 17 to 20 years ago, she said.

“It still works,” Tenore said.

The family got to escape their dark house Saturday afternoon for a Halloween party organized by ZEAL Performing Arts Studio in Scituate, where Jordyn studies dance.

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“We’re excited the kids at least get to do something,” she said.

Tenore said she was hoping electricity would be restored by Saturday night.

“We’ll see,” she said. “Cross our fingers.”






Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.