US ice storm knocks out power to thousands
In a matter of hours, the usual December night rain became the most terrible ice storm in a decade.
A powerful ice storm across the northeastern United States knocked down trees and wires from southern New York to Maine, causing power outages for hundreds of thousands of people.
The heavy mixture of rain and ice forced a government shut-down in Maine, and put Massachusetts and New Hampshire under a state of emergency.
As of Friday afternoon, the worst hit areas included Keene, Peterborough, Hillsboro, Milford, Nashua, Manchester, Derry, Epping, Portsmouth, and Rochester.
The National Weather Service had forecast up to an inch of ice as two powerful low pressure systems worked their way northeast. Higher-than-expected temperatures kept the precipitation to rain — 2 inches or more — in most of the lower elevations of the Berkshires, but the heavy rains turned to sleet and ice in the hill towns.
Some 300,000 people across New Hampshire were without power as a result of the ice build-up.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick also declared a state of emergency to mobilize the National Guard.
“There are 350,000 households without power right now in Massachusetts in the areas hardest hit by the storm,” Patrick told a press conference.
In upstate New York, two utility companies reported that more than 200,000 customers were without power.
More than 50,000 Central Hudson Gas & Electric customers in the Hudson River Valley were without power early Friday afternoon, said Denise VanBuren, a spokeswoman for the utility.
At least one death is attributed to the storm. A man in Danville, a town in southeast New Hampshire, died of carbon monoxide poisoning after he turned on a generator in his trailer because the power had gone out, police said.
Photo: AP and CBC News