New Hampshire faces road closures and power outages in wake of intense storm

Eversource crews working to repair damage and restore power to customers in Madison, New Hampshire on Monday. Courtesy of Eversource.

By Katy Savage

December 18, 2023

More than 70,000 New Hampshire homes lost power Monday and about 70 roads were blocked for periods of time as a heavy wind and rain storm moved through the region.

Rainfall totaled more than 3 inches throughout most of the state Monday afternoon, with some areas, including Jackson and Meriden, seeing more than 4 inches of rain, according to Mike Cempa, the lead meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Portland, Maine. Wind gusts hit 50 miles per hour on the seacoast and ranged from 30 to 40 miles per hour inland. 

Cempa said the storm was expected to clear out in the early evening, with some areas in the mountains expected to continue seeing rain runoff. 

“There’s still snowmelt going on,” Cempa said. “The waters won’t recede until the morning.” 

A number of schools throughout the state were dismissed around noon due to widespread flooding. And, a school bus in Hampton was delayed after power lines fell on top of it on Monday morning. 

The storm was made worse by warming temperatures, approaching 60 degrees in some areas. The ground was also heavily saturated following other recent storms, making downed trees and limbs more likely. 

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation said their crews were working with the power company to clear roads. 

“Our crews and the power company crews are out,” said Richard Arcand, a spokesperson for the NH DOT. 

Arcand said one most notable road closure was in Campton, where Routes 49 and 175 were flooded. 

The Campton Police Department was closely monitoring the Campton Dam as of Monday afternoon for a potential failure.

Around 21,375 Eversource customers who lost power were restored within minutes after the company rerouted power. In total, power has been restored to more than 51,100 customers as of 1:30 p.m. Monday.  Just under 19,000 Eversource customers in New Hampshire remained without power on Monday afternoon. 

Eversource crews responded to about 300 police and fire calls throughout the day. Hundreds of Eversource crews were working around-the-clock shifts to address emergency situations, clear blocked roads, assess damage, and restore power to customers impacted by the storm.

 “We know the timing of this storm is terrible as people are trying to enjoy time off or prepare for the Christmas holiday,” said Eversource New Hampshire President of Electric Operations Doug Foley in a press release. “The fierce winds and heavy rains brought down trees and limbs that caused significant damage to the electric system and widespread power outages in communities across every region of the Granite State.”

Eversource is asking customers to stay clear of downed wire. Customers should also be cautious when doing their own storm clean-up. Customers using a generator are reminded to be sure the generator is located well away from their home or business and that the transfer switch is working properly.

 Customers can report an outage online or by calling 800-662-7764.

 

Read more:  Hudson school bus snagged in electrical wiring in high winds

 

Author

  • Katy Savage

    Katy Savage is an award-winning reporter with more than 10 years of experience working in daily, weekly and digital news organizations as both an editor and reporter. Based in Enfield, Katy is a New England native and has a passion for telling stories about where she grew up. In her free time, she enjoys running and being outside as much as possible.

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