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N.H. hit hard by storm-related power outages

CONCORD, N.H. — Utilities made some progress Friday in restoring power after the first major snowstorm of the season hit New Hampshire.

At peak, more than 200,000 homes and businesses were without electricity after the Wednesday night storm, the fourth largest outage in state history.

That number was down to about 131,000 by 9 a.m. Friday, an increase over an estimate earlier in the morning. Alec O'Meara, a spokesman for Unitil, said some trees were still loaded with the heavy, wet, snow that was breaking branches, presenting challenges in power restoration.

Public Service of New Hampshire reported most of the outages, at close to 114,000, most affecting the southern part of the state. Unitil had about 8,800, most in the Concord area. It expected to have power restored to most customers by the end of the day.

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New Hampshire Electric Co-Op reported about 8,215 still without power.

''We do want people to be aware that their power may not get restored today or tomorrow, so we need people to focus on staying warm and staying safe first,'' and check on their neighbors, Gov. Maggie Hassan said. She said authorities are looking into one death that may be related to the storm.

Temperatures were expected to get down to the teens and single digits Friday night. Shelters were opened in Nashua, Allenstown, Londonderry, Campton, Laconia, Rochester and Franklin. Warming centers were opened in Auburn, Farmington, Manchester and Winchester.