A severe winter wind storm is causing widespread tree damage and
knocking out power to thousands of customers across the state,
Friday, Dec. 21. Crews in Green Mountain Power's Middlebury
District are reporting utility poles snapping from the wind alone,
with no trees on the wire, as high winds whip down from the
surrounding mountainsides. Extensive damage is being reported and
continues to occur, with structural damage to homes and hundreds of
trees down throughout western Vermont.
Winds have been recorded as high as 67 mph in Jericho, 59 in
Rutland, and in the upper 50s along the Route 7 corridor. A
gust of 117 mph was recorded on top of Mount Mansfield.
"We have all available internal line workers and damage
assessors deployed, in addition to about 110 contract line and tree
workers," said GMP spokesman Jeremy Baker. "Despite the progress
made by an army of workers, additional damage is expected to
continue throughout the afternoon."
As of early afternoon, GMP had restored power to more than 8,000
customers. More than 18,000 customers remain without power.
"Because of the extensive and severe damage combined with the fact
that new outages continue to occur it is clear we will be working
through the night and well into the weekend to restore service to
all customers," Baker said.
GMP advises that the public take caution throughout the
remainder of the storm.
"As with other events of this nature, we are stressing that
people treat all downed wires as live and report them to us
immediately," Baker said. "Safety becomes the paramount concern
during storm situations and we encourage everyone to be aware of
all potential hazards resulting from the high winds."
GMP has enhanced its current outage reporting options. The
company has added a "Power Out" button on its Facebook page that
allows customers an additional avenue to report an outage. "We
encourage our customers to use whatever method is most convenient
for them. They can still call 1-888-835-4672 to report an outage;
however, we have made it as easy as possible for our customers to
provide us with their information via the web, their mobile phones,
or Facebook," Baker said.
GMP reminds customers that if the service wire or meter box
along the side of the home has been damaged, it must be repaired by
the customer's electrician.