Monadnock region towns deal with aftermath of storm

  • Gary Arceci blows snow March 15 at his home in Jaffrey. PHOTO BY VICKI ARCECI

  • A shovel shows what 31 inches of snow looks like in Lyndeborough. —PHOTO BY KEVIN BERKEBILE

  • The New Ipswich Library is hidden by the snow. —PHOTO BY PATRICIA LAGE

  • Snow blows around the New Ipswich Center Historic Village District sign. —PHOTO BY PATRICIA LAGE

  • An owl hangs out in the snow at Patricia Gould’s house on Church Street  —PHOTO BY PATRICIA GOULD

  • Playing in the snow in Dublin. PHOTO BY LISA BUDZIK

  • Larry McPeake and Toby Highland operate a truck from Tennessee to clear Crooked S Road Lyndeborough. PHOTO BY KATHLEEN BAGLIO HUMPHREYS

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/16/2023 3:48:58 PM

By Friday, Eversource had restored power to 243,000 customers in New Hampshire, including about 46,000 customers in the Monadnock region who had lost electricity during the nor’easter that dumped nearly three feet of snow in parts of the region. The energy provider still had 300 crews out on Friday to work on the remaining outages.

Chris McKinnon, a spokesperson for Eversource said, “Our massive restoration operation stretched across the state with a particular focus on the Monadnock region and adjacent communities that were heavily impacted by the storm and experienced widespread power outages.”

As of Monday morning, Eversource was reporting 99.9 percent of power restored to New Hampshire customers, with 20 households still without power in Francestown. 

Peterborough Director of Public Works Seth MacLean said their crews started preparing for the storm days in advance, explaining they had to consider scheduling staff, readying equipment, contracted outside assistance and scheduled town events. 

“Peterborough DPW dealt with many of downed trees, power outages, communication disruptions and challenges on individual routes,” MacLean said. “All these types of occurrences require our team to be adaptable and ready to change course in a moment’s notice, including working some incredibly long hours to ensure the safety of the traveling public, emergency responders and utility crews. To that, many members of our team worked shifts in excess of 24 hours straight.”

MacLean expressed that he was incredibly proud of his team, Peterborough Fire and Rescue and Peterborough Police.

“To say I am impressed would be an understatement,” he said.

Because of the heavy precipitation, MacLean explained that “roadway shoulders and related drainage infrastructure can sustain damage.” He said they will be actively looking for damage and will perform a townwide roadway assessment in the spring.

According to Bennington Road Agent Matt Blanchard, the town had a team of four working through Thursday. They were constantly plowing, removing downed trees, keeping up parking lots and walkways and keeping municipal buildings open for emergency use. 

“We’re a small town compared to Antrim, Hancock, Greenfield or Francestown,” Blanchard said, “But we had four roads closed for quite a bit of the storm.” With fallen trees and an extraordinary amount of snow to move, it took days to clear all roads. The town had two additional state roads closed for periods of time as well.

Blanchard said the Highway Department hasn’t seen conditions like this in at least the last five years, possibly not since the historic ice storm in 2008. 

Blanchard noted that “the emergency management crew did an outstanding job with helping remove some of the [snow and trees] and closing roads.” He said other residents rose to the occasion and helped clear areas of roads that hadn’t been plowed yet.

“As a whole, the Town of Bennington came together really well,” said Blanchard.

Teri Tie from New Hampshire DOT reported that the rate of snow per hour and a short work staff led to challenges clearing state highways. She said, “Every single truck we had was out.”

After the storm, residents around Peterborough reported not having cellular service for a period of time, at least one gas station briefly out of gas and all 16 towns in the Ledger-Transcript’s coverage area postponed their town elections until Tuesday, March 28. In addition, Antrim postponed its  Town Meeting to March 29.

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