Tens of thousands still without power following powerful nor'easter in New England

A portion of Route 9 between Falmouth and Cumberland is closed as crews work to remove a downed tree spanning the snow-covered roadway in Falmouth, Maine, Thursday, April 4, 2024, following a spring snowstorm. (Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via AP)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Power restoration efforts in Maine and New Hampshire entered another day on Saturday with more than 100,000 homes and businesses still in the dark several days after a storm brought powerful winds and heavy, wet snow.

Maine’s largest electric utility warned that some customers might not have service restored until Monday or Tuesday, despite the efforts of 1,125 line crews and 400 tree-cutting crews, officials said. The bulk of the power outages — more than 150,000 at the start of Saturday — were in southern Maine, while New Hampshire had more than 10,000 homes and businesses without electricity.

Central Maine Power reported that it had more than 5,000 damage reports that workers needed to resolve during the storm, and more than 300 utility poles were broken, said Jonathan Breed, a company spokesperson.

It has been a rough year winter and spring in Maine, the nation’s most heavily forested state. About 450,000 homes and businesses lost power during a December storm, and about 200,000 lost power during an ice storm last month. More than 300,000 homes and businesses were in the dark during the latest storm, a nor’easter that struck Wednesday night and Thursday.

Such storms have been growing in intensity and frequency over the past decade, Breed said.

“We are confronted with these stronger, more frequent storms across the board. That’s something we attribute to a changing climate,” he said Saturday. “It certainly explains the trend.”

The storm brought heavy rains and high winds to much of the Northeast — including gusts of up to more than 60 mph (97 kph) in parts of New England — on the heels of storms that brought tornadoes, flooding and more to states further west.

More than a foot (30 centimeters) of snow was reported in many parts of northern New England. All told, nearly 700,000 customers in New England were without electricity at one point following the biggest April nor’easter to hit the region since 2020, officials said.