Wild autumn wind storm wallops Brandon area, too

RUTLAND/ADDISON COUNTIES — And just like that, fall is over.
An intense windstorm overnight Sunday denuded the autumn trees of their leaves in Vermont as a powerful low-pressure system fueled by the remnants of Tropical Storm Philippe carried 70-80 mph wind gusts that battered the state for hours overnight.
At first light Monday, roughly a third of Vermonters were without power as crews from Green Mountain Power and other power companies spread out across the state to repair downed lines and snapped power poles. Most of the trees were bare.
A drive around The Reporter’s coverage areas of Brandon, Leicester, Whiting, Sudbury and Goshen saw numerous downed trees, crumpled trampolines, and unsecured lawn chairs flung several feet across many yards. Many trees rested on power lines. Mailboxes hung by single chains and metal roofing was pried loose like the peel on a banana. Power poles bent over dirt roads, their lines slung low as motorists gingerly passed underneath.
Most of Brandon and Middlebury had power on Monday morning, but many areas of Leicester, Whiting, Goshen, Salisbury and Pittsford were dark.
The Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union issued a two-hour delay for Otter Valley Union High School, Lothrop Elementary and Barstow. The Neshobe School in Brandon was without power but opened thanks to the school’s generator.
Leicester, Whiting and Sudbury schools were closed as the school buildings were without power Monday. All morning preschool in RNeSU was cancelled.
A house fire at the Berry home on Pearl Street overnight Sunday was blamed on an electrical short caused by the windstorm. The southern section of the brown-shingled home was heavily damaged.
On Furnace Road in Pittsford, a large willow tree branch came down squarely on a parked car in the driveway of a home, and vinyl siding was peeled away from the side of the home near the roof.
GMP on Monday morning said more than 112,500 people were without power as of 7 a.m. More than 500 line workers, tree workers, and field teams were working to repair all the damage.
“Crews are ready and mobilized to make repairs as quickly and safely as possible this morning and we expect additional crews, which were on standby from Canada and elsewhere in the region to join the effort as well,” said GMP spokeswoman Kristin Carlson. “We are asking the public for patience as we expect more wind later today and more outages as a result. Safety of our crews and the public is our top priority and conditions are extremely dangerous.”
Nearly every region of the state was affected so crews were being deployed across the state to make repairs. GMP estimated repairs in some areas could take days, possibly through the week to complete.
In fact, on Tuesday, GMP said that power would not be restored to affected parts of Addison County until late Friday.
The whine of chainsaws and humming generators could be heard all over the area Tuesday morning as clean up continued. Home Depot in Rutland and Tractor Supply co. in North Clarendon were sold out of generators and didn’t expect more until Sunday.
Sudbury and Whiting schools were open Tuesday, but Leicester school was still without power.
Still, GMP reported making significant progress overnight Monday, and by Tuesday morning, power was restored to 92,000 homes and businesses; outages were down to 23,000 homes and businesses.
On Wednesday morning GMP said crews have restored power to 111,750 homes and businesses; and 8,620 were still without power.
Safety remained a top priority. Crews focused their initial response on emergency situations such as live wires and fallen poles closing roads and posing significant safety concerns. With the majority of that work complete, hundreds of crews were turning their focus to residential and business repairs, pole replacements and clearing downed trees and branches from lines.
“We urge Vermonters to stay clear of downed trees, branches and power lines and report them by calling 911,” Carlson continued. “We’ll keep the public and media informed as this storm progresses through regular press releases and updates on social media.”
For safety information, customers can greenmountainpower.com/learn/safety-guide.
To get the latest information on outages and restoration times, customers can sign up for text service alerts, by texting REG to 46788 or GMPVT, or signing up online at greenmountainpower.com/textalerts. 
Editor’s note: Story courtesy of the Brandon Reporter.

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