Thousands lose power, many will not see it restored until Sunday; Concord festival ravaged by wind
By MICHAEL COUSINEAU New Hampshire Union Leader
Some homes and businesses without power Saturday will not get their electricity restored until Sunday.
Also, a cold front expected later Saturday "will cause additional damage and outages," said Martin Murray, a spokesman for Public Service of New Hampshire.
PSNH was shrinking its outage numbers on Saturday with about 6,700 customers affected as of early Saturday afternoon.
"Although progress will continue, it seems clear that some areas will remain without power overnight tonight due to the damage," Murray said in an email.
Murray said the outages were widespread with the "Lancaster area to Berlin quite hard hit."
PSNH had more than 140 line and tree crews working with additional crews being sought. More than half of Lancaster's customers remained without power Saturday afternoon.
A cold front approaching the region Saturday afternoon was predicted to bring scattered showers and thunderstorms. Some may produce localized damaging winds or flooding, according to the National Weather Service. Cooler temperatures and less humid conditions were predicted Sunday.
Statewide, strong winds knocked out power to at least 17,000 homes and businesses statewide and damaged tents that merchants had set up for the Market Days Festival in Concord.
"You had multiple tents brutally destroyed," police Lt. John Thomas said Saturday. "It was quite a sight this morning."
"You had severe damage in the downtown area because of Market Days," Thomas said. "A lot of business owners lost a lot of property due to wind and rain damage."
He said the street festival along Main Street opened as scheduled Saturday.
Nearly 8,000 electric customers statewide were without service at 1:20 p.m. Saturday, according to the four largest utilities serving the state.
On Saturday morning, PSNH had reported outages spread among more than 50 communities, including Hopkinton, New London and Weare. Lancaster had nearly two-thirds of the town in the dark on Saturday morning.
A police dispatcher reported many trees and limbs down around town.
Unitil, which covers parts of the Seacoast and Concord area, reported thousands out at the peak.
"Overnight winds caused an est. 8,600 customer outage in the NH Capital area," Unitil said via Twitter.
New Hampshire Electric Co-op, which had at least 900 out Saturday morning, reported only a dozen remaining customers with trouble by early Saturday afternoon.