Thousands still without power after Friday morning storm - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Thousands still without power after Friday morning storm

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Thousands are still without power and massive cleanup efforts are underway after a powerful storm system ripped through our region. 

Saturday, Brandon resident Monica McQueen surveyed the damage surrounding her trailer home following a windstorm Friday that ripped through trees and tore down power lines. "(Trees) were just coming down everywhere around us," she said.

She says as each tree cracked Friday morning, the thud of its impact would follow. "We've had some bad storms, but nothing like this," she said, "it was like a war zone as far as I was concerned, because we didn't know which way to turn, I kept saying to my grandson, 'you need to get in the front room', 'you need to get on this side of the trailer'."

McQueen has a little heat and power thanks to a personal generator out back. But most of her neighbors - and thousands across the state - aren't as lucky.

Green Mountain Power spokeswoman Dotty Schnure said Friday's storm initially left about 32,000 without power. By early evening Saturday, all but about 4,000 had power again. "We're making really great progress in bringing customers back on, but it was a devastating storm, really very severe damage," she said.

Schnure says less customers lost power during this storm than did directly after Superstorm Sandy. However, where the storm struck, it hit harder. For those in more remote areas, official warn restoring power could take through Christmas Day.

"What makes the last thousand so hard to get back online is that the same amount of work it might take us to bring 7,000 back on, we'll have to do to bring a handful of customers back on," said Schnure. She said in Poultney, it took workers more than seven hours to restore power to 15 people Saturday.

G.M.P. brought in an additional 250 line and tree workers to help power restoration efforts. But, temperatures are forecast to drop, and officials say that could slow progress and present dangerous living conditions.

"I have no idea if we'll get (power) today, maybe tomorrow we don't know," said McQueen Saturday, "I think we're all blessed because we're still here." She said that's the most important ingredient for a happy holiday.

Most of the outages as of Saturday evening are in Addison and Rutland Counties. The American Red Cross has opened an emergency shelter at Rutland Regional Medical Center.

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