December 14, 2008 in Nation/World

Much of Northeast remains powerless

Associated Press photo

Workers gather Saturday to clear roads in Washington, N.H. It was the third night without electricity for many in the region.
(Full-size photo)

CONCORD, N.H. – Temperatures fell over the ice-coated Northeast on Saturday, where storm-related power failures had already plunged more than a million homes and businesses from Pennsylvania to Maine into the dark and cold.

“If you don’t have power, assume that you will not get it restored today, and right now make arrangements to stay someplace warm tonight,” warned Gov. John Lynch, of hardest-hit New Hampshire.

Officials expected to see more people in shelters Saturday night with temperatures forecast to dip into the teens. It was the third night without power for many.

Utilities in New Hampshire said it would likely be Thursday or Friday – a week after the storm – before all power is restored in the region, partly because of the sheer number of outages and partly because of the devastation.

“What is facing us is the apparent need to rebuild the entire infrastructure of some sections of the electrical delivery system,” said Martin Murray, spokesman for Public Service Company of New Hampshire.

Crews across the region saw electric poles, wires and equipment destroyed. The extent of damage was unclear because some roads still were impassable.

“We’d put one line up, and it seemed like another would break,” said Stan Tucker, operations supervisor in Springfield for Central Vermont Public Service Corp. “It seems like every line has multiple problems.”

About 1.4 million homes and businesses across the Northeast suffered power outages after a storm coated trees and wires with ice Thursday night into Friday. Most of the outages were in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and New York. About 900,000 remained without power Saturday evening.

Four states declared either limited or full states of emergency.

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