| 29 February 2024, Thursday |

Major cleanup underway after storm batters Northeastern US, knocks out power and floods roads

On Tuesday, utility crews endeavored to reestablish power for hundreds of thousands of customers in Maine. Meanwhile, certain rivers in New England persisted in swelling after a potent storm swept through the northeastern U.S., saturating communities and generating wind speeds exceeding 60 mph (96 kph) in specific regions. Tragically, a minimum of four individuals lost their lives.
We anticipate a multi-day restoration effort involving hundreds of line and tree crews,” Central Maine Power, the state’s largest utility, posted online Monday night.

Many communities were saturated, with some getting well over 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of rain during the storm. Some towns in Vermont, which had suffered major flooding from a storm in July, were seeing more flood damage. Some school districts remained closed in the region Tuesday.

More than 5 inches (13 centimeters) of rain fell in parts of New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania, and parts of several other states got more than 4 inches (10 centimeters), according to the National Weather Service. Streets were flooded in some communities. Wind gusts reached nearly 70 mph (113 kph) along the southern New England shoreline.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills delayed the opening of state offices until midday Tuesday to allow time for power restoration and cleanup efforts from the storm, which took down many trees and closed roads. One office building in Augusta will remain closed to remove scaffolding damaged by the storm.

“If you must travel, please exercise caution and be sure to provide plenty of room for emergency first responders and for crews that are restoring power and clearing roadways,” Mills said in a statement urging people to stay off the roads, if possible.

Maine had over 430,000 customers without power as of early Tuesday, half of its utility customer base, according to

Some rivers in the region crested. The Androscoggin River in Rumford, Maine, reached a maximum stage of 22 feet (6.7 meters) in a 24-hour period ending early Tuesday, the National Weather Service said. Flood stage is 15 feet (4.6 meters). The river was expected to fall below flood stage Tuesday afternoon.

The Kennebec River at Augusta was at 20 feet and still rising. It was expected to reach a crest of 25 feet Thursday evening, the weather service said. Flood stage is 12 feet.

Five months after flooding inundated Vermont’s capital city of Montpelier, water entered the basements of some downtown businesses as the city monitored the level of the Winooski River, officials said.

Three people were rescued from a home in Jamaica and another in Waterbury when that person’s vehicle was swept away by floodwaters, said Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Jennifer Morrison at a press conference with the governor. Several shelters were set up.

A numbers of roads were also closed around the state due to flooding, including in Londonderry and Ludlow, the southern Vermont communities that were hit hard by flooding in July.

“Although there will be damage to infrastructure, homes and businesses, we do not expect this to be the same scale as July,” said Gov. Phil Scott. “That being said, some of the places that were impacted in July are currently experiencing flooding once again. So for them, this is July and it’s a real gut punch.”

Early in the storm, the weather service issued flood and flash-flood warnings for New York City and the surrounding area, parts of Pennsylvania, upstate New York, western Connecticut, western Massachusetts and parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

An 89-year-old Hingham, Massachusetts, man was killed early Monday when high winds caused a tree to fall on a trailer, authorities said. In Windham, Maine, police said part of a tree fell and killed a man who was removing debris from his roof.

In Catskill, New York, a driver was killed after the vehicle went around a barricade on a flooded road and was swept into the Catskill Creek, the Times Union reported. A man was pronounced dead in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, after he was found in a submerged vehicle Monday morning.

On Sunday in South Carolina, one person died when their vehicle flooded on a road in a gated community in Mount Pleasant.