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67,000 without power in Mass. three days after storm

Town of Duxbury employees removed a tree from a power line on Monday.
Town of Duxbury employees removed a tree from a power line on Monday.David L Ryan/Globe Staff

Three days after a nor’easter hammered Massachusetts, some 62,000 electric customers were still without power Monday, schools were closed or delaying opening, and the MBTA warned commuter rail passengers that storm damage would slow their ride to work.

The number of outages has steadily declined from more than 400,000 this weekend to 62,417 as of 1:17 p.m.., according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. National Grid reported outages totaling 36,603, and Eversource reported 25,812.

“There’s been some great improvement,’’ said MEMA spokesman Christopher Besse. “But if you are one of those without power, it is still a big deal.”

By Monday afternoon, large-scale power outages were confined to the South Shore, Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands, according to MEMA’s outage map. In Pembroke, 71 percent of customers were powerless, while in neighboring Norwell, 76 percent were without power.


In Norwell, during the height of the storm Friday evening, 97 percent of the town was without power, said Norwell Town Administrator Peter Morin.

“The major problems are downed wires and trees that were brought down by the wind,” Morin said. “There were more trees down than you can count.”

National Grid promised everything would be back on line within 24 hours, but the company had concerns about whether its grid could support total restoration, Morin said.

“That’s why they’re holding off on getting everybody else back on at once,” he said.

On a two-mile stretch of Route 53, a major commercial area in Norwell, approximately 40 businesses were impacted, Morin said.

Some restaurants and businesses — including On Rye Deli, The Fours Restaurant and Sports Bar, and Royal Norwell Nursing and Rehabilitation — had generators and continued to operate, but it was “sporadic,” Morin said.

The nor’easter’s high winds combined with astronomically high tides to affecting nearly every coastal community in Massachusetts, though some were harder hit than others.


On Monday morning, 162 people were at shelters or warming centers, according to MEMA. Shelters were open in Bridgewater, Rochester, Attleboro, Easton, Quincy, and Harwich. Warming centers were open in Stoughton, Wareham, Kingston, Plympton, and Duxbury.

MEMA urged anyone looking for shelter to call 211 to see if the service is being offered in their community.

In Quincy, the city has launched a trash pickup for residents who are hauling damaged furniture, clothing, and bedding out of their homes. Heavy equipment crews are due to return to remove downed trees and other storm debris.

City officials estimated that roughly 500 residents were evacuated during the storm and at least 100 homes had been damaged by flood water, about half of them severely.

Quincy’s public schools are were, but other communities south of Boston, including Scituate, Brockton, Weymouth, Duxbury, and Kingston, were closed Monday. Other schools delayed their opening.

The National Weather Service issued a coastal flood advisory starting at 11 a.m. Monday until 3 p.m. for Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk counties.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation closed Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester and Winthrop Parkway in Revere Monday afternoon due to flooding from the high tide.

The MBTA and Keolis Commuter Services, which operates commuter rail for the T, cautioned rail customers on the Newburyport/Rockport, Kingston/Plymouth, and Greenbush lines about delays Monday as the system deals with signal problems linked to the power outages.

Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency Saturday, which will allow the state to seek federal assistance for the recovery effort, which is expected to last for weeks in some communities.


Besse said Monday that the declaration allowed the state to tap into resources, but did not guarantee aid would be forthcoming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The amount of damage to public and private property must first be documented, he said.

“It’s too early to tell what that will look like,’’ he said.

Later Monday, municipal officials will participate in a conference call with MEMA officials to explore repair options for damaged seawalls, dunes, or other sea barriers breached during the storm.

The cleanup effort this week may be hampered by weather on Wednesday, when forecasters expect another significant storm will arrive, bringing six inches of snow or more to most of Massachusetts — and causing minor flooding on the coast. A winter storm watch has been issued by the weather service, with forecasters cautioning the snow totals and the line between rain and snow is not yet clear.

“Lots of uncertainty on where exactly the rain-snow line sets up,’ forecasters wrote. “This will determine the axis of heaviest snow.”

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.