NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 31, 2012

Amesbury hit hardest by power outages

AMESBURY – Over 80 percent of Amesbury lost power as a result of Hurricane Sandy, forcing schools to close for the second day in a row yesterday and shutting down traffic lights at several major intersections along Route 110 and by the Hines Bridge.

Mayor Thatcher Kezer announced in a Facebook post that school would be closed after every school in town other than Amesbury High School was without power after 9 p.m. Monday night. Kezer said it was unlikely power could be restored by the next morning, especially given the continued high winds.

Over 350,000 people lost power across the state, and additional crews have been brought in from as far away as California to assist with the restoration effort, according to the main state power companies’ websites. Coastal areas like Plum Island felt the brunt of Sandy’s fury, but areas further inland experienced heavy winds as well.

Amesbury was among the hardest hit communities in the area utility-wise, with trees wreaking havoc on the power lines. The highest percentage of outages occurred after sundown, leaving nearly the entire city enveloped in total darkness.

Allison Heartquist, Kezer’s administrative assistant, said her phone was busy all morning with frustrated residents demanding to know when their power would be restored.

Heartquist said crews have been working since last night to restore power throughout Amesbury, but noted that it may take a while to restore some parts of town due to the sheer volume of outages.

She added that some residents have asked incredulously how its possible that so much of Amesbury could be without power while most of Plum Island, which was battered by high seas and heavy wind off the ocean throughout the day, managed to weather the storm with limited outages.

“There are no trees,” said Heartquist, who lives on Plum Island, adding even with the worse conditions, the lack of trees meant the power lines on the island largely held up to the storm, though there were some brief outages on the island overnight.

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