Storm cuts power, closes roads

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  • A worker from National Grid surveys damage to power lines on Glendale Road in Northampton on Thursday morning after an oak tree, felled by high winds on Wednesday afternoon, took down a transformer and several utility poles. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • With power turned off on Glendale Road in Northampton on Thursday morning, a crew from Nelson Tree Service cuts up a large oak tree that was felled by high winds late Wednesday afternoon, taking several utility poles with it. Glendale Road resident Marcia Fellows, watching the action with several neighbors, said the power went out about 4:45 p.m. “We didn’t even get to watch the debate,” she noted, referring to Wednesday night’s vice presidential debate. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • A large maple tree at Glendale Ridge Vineyard in Southampton split and fell across Glendale Road during high winds late Wednesday afternoon. Owner Ed Hamel, who was sitting outside at the time, said, "the storm came on like a wall." He watched it arrive over the treeline to the north. First the sky filled with leaves, he said, "three seconds later I felt the wind, then I felt the rain." As he headed into his back door he noticed a spark across the street, but said the wind and rain were so loud that neither he nor his wife, Mary, inside the house heard the tree fall. Photographed on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • This large maple, about four feet in diameter, fell across Florence Road in Easthampton during high winds late Wednesday afternoon, Oct, 7, 2020, causing the closure of the road between Ballard and Lyman Streets. Photographed on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 10/8/2020 7:45:59 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Wednesday afternoon’s intense storm left thousands of area residents without power Thursday.

Throughout Hampshire County and Holyoke, 2,413 Eversource customers remained out of power by Thursday at around 4:30 p.m., according to the utility’s outage map. That number was down slightly from 2,466 Thursday morning. National Grid showed around 74 of its area customers without power late Thursday afternoon. 

Downed power lines and trees felled by the storm played a large role in the outages and also caused road closures.

Amherst led the communities in number of outages with 994 Eversource customers out of power as of Thursday afternoon. Damage from the storm occurred “across the whole town,” said Assistant Fire Chief Jeffrey Olmstead, noting that the town experienced “significant tree damage” and “power lines down in a number of different locations.”

He added, “Crews have been out working all night and most of the day trying to do cleanup and restoration of power,” and remained at work cleaning up the damage as of Thursday afternoon. 

Other hard-hit communities included Southampton, with 418 out of power; Hatfield with 307; Pelham with 164; Easthampton with 161; and Cummington with 131.

Dozens were also without power in Chesterfield, Hadley, Westhampton, Worthington, Plainfield and Middlefield.

National Grid reported 35 outages in the Northampton area, eight in northwestern Hampshire County, and 31 around the southeastern edges of the county.

The South Hadley Electric Light Department recorded that around 1,700 of its approximately 8,000 customers were out of power at the peak of the outages, according to General Manager Sean Fitzgerald. Most of the outages were caused by the wind toppling large trees into utility poles, Fitzgerald said. 

“The storm packed a powerful punch and took out some very large trees and one of our major circuits,” Fitzgerald said. Crews worked through the night, and as of Thursday afternoon, all customers had their power restored.

Road closings

In Amherst, downed trees and wires led to the closing of Pine Street from around 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, according to the town’s police log.

Additionally, downed trees and wires were reported on Red Gate Lane near Amherst center; and on Sunset Avenue, Fearing Street, North Pleasant Street and Old Town Road near UMass. Portions of East Pleasant Street, Pine Street, Middle Street, Shutesbury Road and Hills Road remained closed on Thursday morning, according to the town of Amherst’s Twitter account.

In Northampton, Beacon Street, the west end of Ryan Road, Glendale Road and the east end of Park Hill Road were closed as of Thursday morning due to downed trees or power lines.

In Easthhampton, Florence Road between Ballard and Lyman streets was closed Thursday morning, and the portion of Glendale Road north of Cold Spring Road in Southampton was also closed.

On Wednesday night, Southampton police reported that portions of Russellville Road, Gilbert Road and Rattle Hill Road were closed, with some instances of multiple trees and poles down.

Officials caution residents to stay away from any downed power lines they see and assume that they are still active.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at


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