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95K without power in Northeast due to ice storm

Ice Storm
CANTON, N.Y. (AP) - A winter storm bringing ice and whipping winds to upstate New York and northern Vermont knocked out power to thousands of customers as officials urged motorists to avoid traveling in dangerously slick conditions.

More than 95,000 utility customers woke up without power Sunday morning in New York, Vermont and Maine because of widespread ice accumulations.

In New York's St. Lawrence County, almost 2 inches of ice had accumulated early Sunday, coating tree limbs and power lines, county dispatch operations supervisor Jim Chestnut said.

Winds were expected to pick up, increasing the chances of outage issues, but a state of emergency was keeping roads clear of hapless motorists, Chestnut said.

"It's a big party weekend, the Saturday before Christmas," Chestnut said. "This put a little bit of a damper onto that."

"Fortunately, there were not many accidents but mainly because people are staying off the road," added County Administrator Karen St. Hilaire.

Up to an inch of ice had accumulated across the northernmost part Vermont, said Conor Lahiff, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Burlington, Vt. In Maine, about 5 inches of snow had accumulated in the northernmost counties, with ice accumulations up to a half-inch along the coast, he said.

"It's pretty messy out there. Lots of power outages, lots of trees down," Lahiff said.

Significant accumulations of ice were expected to continue into Sunday afternoon.

National Grid reported nearly 67,000 customers without power in New York on Sunday morning. Spokesman Steve Brady said that number likely will rise. The utility said earlier it could be Monday before service is restored to some customers.

Brady said bulk of the outages were along Lake Ontario, stretching from Niagara and Erie counties in the west to Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties in the north.

He said a light overnight staff restoring power had grown to full contingent by 5 a.m.

About 16,000 outages were reported in Vermont - mostly in the north - though Burlington International Airport briefly lost power Saturday evening. A generator kicked on but service was quickly restored, airport Director of Operations Kelly Colling said.

"We're doing well, surprisingly well," she said.

Maine utilities reported about 12,000 customers without power Sunday morning, mostly along the coast.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland released parishioners from obligation to attend Mass, urging "extreme caution and prudence" about travel decisions.

Even after the storm moves out, a deep freeze is expected to set in.

"If anything, we're going to be trending toward below-normal temperatures through the middle of the week," Evenson said. Highs in the region are expected to reach only the teens on Tuesday and Wednesday with temperatures falling into the single digits or below zero at night.

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ae12wrangell December 22 2013 at 12:48 PM

Its safe to say the excessive weight of the ice on the various wires took out phone, electric and telephone services. Possibly even cable. Time to put the wires UNDERGROUND(there is a small section of Garden City, NY. that has buried cables, so when Hurricans hit, there is no loss of power)

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3 replies
dquandle December 22 2013 at 3:02 PM

Appallingly, lower NY had temperatures in the 70's on the second day of winter.

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harolddundee December 22 2013 at 2:51 PM

Sounds like winter is here.

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OrisonSquirrell December 22 2013 at 3:25 PM

ice ice baby..

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mrnaturallyphree December 22 2013 at 6:13 PM

Wow! Frozen precipitation in late December, who but Bing Crosby would have thunk it?

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1 reply
Paul mrnaturallyphree December 22 2013 at 7:46 PM

Certainly not the people who put a Super Bowl in the NE in January.

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Kay December 22 2013 at 7:25 PM

We also had some ice but not nearly as bad as the northeast. But we still have many without power and will be until at least New Years. I remember one year I lived with my generator from Christmas until after New Years! You just do it!

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jbjg24m December 22 2013 at 2:17 PM

its winter!

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1 reply
crimepup jbjg24m December 22 2013 at 2:36 PM

Yes it is! I drove 180 miles through this mes this morning and came home and cleaned out the driveway and deck the best i could. Still have power but i have a generator with plenty of gas if that goes out, just another day in northern NY.

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treese1026 December 22 2013 at 3:17 PM

Het Italia. it is 72 in Philadelphia, and I am watching the Cowboys lose in my cut-offs.

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1 reply
MASTER treese1026 December 22 2013 at 5:35 PM

Why were the Cowboys wearing your cutoffs? By the way, they won.

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1 reply
Welcome MSGT MASTER December 22 2013 at 6:16 PM

He's from Philly. Nuff said. LOL

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Paul December 22 2013 at 7:45 PM

Thats going to be one hellofa Super Bowl this year in New York. And everyone thought the temporary blackout last year was disturbing

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strawbuild December 22 2013 at 10:42 AM

Tough Christmas coming up for everyone effected by these storms. Hope everyone stays safe and can find a place to be warm.

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