Record-Breaking Autumn Storm Batters Southern New England
By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
A record-breaking autumn storm struck southern New England early Thursday morning with heavy rain and strong winds, NBC Channel 10 in Boston said Friday. But no injuries or deaths were reported.
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The storm closed schools and knocked down trees and power lines. It also left hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in the dark and cold between New York and Boston, Channel 10 added.
Damaging winds gusted up to 90 mph in Provincetown, Mass., and 70 mph at Logan International Airport in Boston.
Autumn Storm Left Five Entire Massachusetts Towns without Power
At one point during the storm, 500,000 customers were without power, including five entire towns in Massachusetts -- Aquinnah, Essex, New Ashford, Petersham and Warwick. By three p.m. Thursday, that number was down to 153,084 customers, the Boston Globe said.
A statement from Gov. Charlie Baker's office, as reported by the Globe, said state officials "are monitoring conditions across the Commonwealth and will continue coordinating response efforts with local officials and utility companies to clean up debris, restore power and support our communities as they recover from this powerful storm."
Baker told an earlier news conference that the biggest challenge municipalities and their electric companies and utilities have is the continuing wind gusts. "I would expect that this is going to be a rolling restoration, and that it will probably take place over the course of today and probably into tomorrow [Friday] as well," Baker said.
Southern New England Storm Was Equivalent of a Category 2 Hurricane
The storm "parked over southern New England with the [barometric] pressure equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane," said CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen.
The storm broke a record when the atmospheric pressure at Logan Airport dropped to 975.3 millibars at 4:54 a.m. That was a new low for an October storm in Boston. The previous record was 982.4 millibars, set in October 2006.
Millibars is a measurement of the atmospheric pressure exerted on the Earth. For example, Category 1 hurricanes with a barometric pressure greater than 980 millibars cause minimal damage, while Category 5 hurricanes with a central pressure of less than 920 millibars are capable of causing catastrophic damage.
Flights Cancelled in Massachusetts and New York
More than 100 flights were cancelled at Boston's Logan Airport. In addition, more than 230 flights were cancelled at New York's LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports.
By Friday morning, those three airports were almost back to normal operations. FlightAware said Logan reported two cancellations and 14 delays, while JFK had 10 cancellations and 18 delays. LaGuardia reported no cancellations or delays.