Addison County among hardest hit by last week’s storm

ADDISON COUNTY — As of Friday night Green Mountain Power was expecting to have service restored to all but a handful of its Addison County customers, even though 400 homes, businesses and farms were still making do without electricity at about 10 a.m.
GMP spokesperson Dorothy Schnure said the company was focusing on Addison County on Friday because only another roughly 200 of its customers elsewhere in Vermont still lacked power after Monday morning’s major windstorm turned off electricity to more than 118,000 GMP customers and snapped 100 power poles in half.
“We have made incredible progress and expect to get all our customers back on tonight, except for maybe a few calls with extreme damage,” Schnure said in an email. “We have a concentration of crews there — 90 lineworkers and tree trimmers in Addison County alone. At this point, we are bringing people back on one or two customers at a time — there are 100 separate incidents that need repair in Addison County to restore power. Many of those have such damage we may have two or three trucks working on a single event.”
Schnure said the problems locally were simply worse than most of those elsewhere.
“The damage in Addison County was extraordinary — more so than most other parts of the state. In this final restoration effort in Addison County, there are many places that take hours of work with multiple crews to bring back on one or two customers,” Schnure said. “We have had a concentrated effort in Addison County since the beginning, knowing of the devastation.”
In Addison County alone Monday’s storm — which caused more power outages statewide than any single storm in the state’s history, according to multiple sources — knocked out power to 12,200 customers, about 9,000 of whom had electricity restored by Wednesday morning.
According to GMP, a strong low-pressure system that also pulled effects from Tropical Storm Philippe off the Atlantic Coast triggered Monday morning’s high winds, including rain and gusts of up to 80 mph around here and 115 mph at the tops of the Green Mountains.
Problems cropped up all over the area. In Middlebury, downed tree branches helped spark a fire at a Happy Valley Road home. The storm forced Addison Northeast Supervisory Union District schools to close on Monday. Starksboro’s Robinson Elementary School, Salisbury Community School and Leicester Central School were all closed both on Monday and Tuesday.
Some farms struggled to maintain milking schedules or greenhouse operations or keep products properly chilled, and others suffered damage to facilities.
Agency of Transportation officials said the storm forced five state highways to be closed around Vermont, while locally many residents reported that roads, especially in rural, wooded areas, were at least temporarily blocked after the storm blew down trees and large branches. Several Ripton roads were at least temporarily impassible, and Lake Street in Salisbury remained closed at least through early Tuesday. Power was out to many homes around Lake Dunmore and Fern Lake.
The Red Cross opened Middlebury’s recreation center on Wednesday as an emergency shelter, but said no one took advantage of the opportunity, and workers there were put on standby Thursday at 5 p.m.

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