Ice storm freezes Monadnock Region

  • A downed tree on Slip Road in Greenfield. Courtesy photo—

  • A downed tree in Temple. Courtesy photo—

  • Scenes from the weekend's ice storm. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Scenes from the weekend's ice storm. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Scenes from the weekend's ice storm. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Scenes from the weekend's ice storm. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Scenes from the weekend's ice storm. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/10/2020 9:12:57 PM

Friday evening’s ice storm caused power outages for 9,600 households in the Monadnock Region.

“This is the most significant storm we’ve responded to this winter season,” Eversource spokesperson Kaitlyn Woods said, and that the company enlisted additional service crews from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Canada to bring 118,000 customers across the state back on line by Sunday morning.

John Kieley, Emergency Management Director for the town of Temple, said his town was hard-hit, with nearly half of residents without power at some point on Friday during the day, and a second wave losing power on Friday night as the ice storm worsened.

About 127 addresses were without power overnight Friday. Eversource crews from as far away as Connecticut were in Temple Friday and Saturday to address the outages.

“We had wires down all over town, and three roads blocked by trees down,” Kieley said. “They were not predicting anywhere near the ice damage we ended up getting.”

Kieley said despite the damage being worse than anticipated, new technology has helped towns communicate more effectively with entities like Eversource, to direct them to the areas with the most need, and make sure the conditions on the ground match Eversource’s reports. Kieley said he was able to report exact locations of downed wires or problems, and to check Eversource’s work orders to ensure they were scheduled to be fixed.

“In the past, we really haven’t taken advantage of some of the resources available from the state and Eversource,” Kieley said. “It’s really made a difference, when we really needed it, such as in the middle of the night Friday, when we had people without power overnight.”

Woods said that tree damage was the primary cause of outages during the storm.

“Trees were weighed down by the ice,” she said, “then really strong winds picked up, bringing the trees down on the lines.”

The western part of the state was hardest-hit, she said, with significant damage in the Derry and Londonderry areas as well.

Eversource replaced three utility poles in the Monadnock Region as a result of the storm. The Halloween wind storm was the last comparable outage, Woods said, when 11 poles needed to be replaced, and 37,500 households in the Monadnock region and 115,000 statewide losing electricity between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2.

Road crews were kept busy, as snow, sleet and freezing rain came down starting on Thursday, and continued through Saturday.

Jaffrey DPW Director Randy Heglin said his road crew worked 12-hour shifts or longer all three days, with crews hitting the road to plow, salt and sand starting as early as 3 a.m.

“These long-duration storms are the toughest to deal with,” Heglin said. “We have a small crew. It was a real challenge.”

Though snow totals weren’t as heavy as other storms this year, Heglin said the sleet and rain caused black ice and trees down. Heglin, a resident of northern Massachusetts, said he saw even heavier impacts due to the ice in his home state.

Kieley said road crews in Temple had late nights on Friday, attempting to keep the roads clear from downed limbs, as trees dropped due to the heavy ice and winds.

“They were sensational,” he said.

Hancock crews were called out twice for downed trees, Chief Tom Bates said, and described the damage as minor.

Bennington Fire Chief David Foster said a tree branch took out a power line on Bible Hill Road, and 75 households were without power at the storm’s peak, but described the storm as “routine.”

About half of Greenfield’s homes were without power at the peak of the storm, Fire Chief Richard McQuade said. The fire department had responded to six calls that day, including a weather related car crash, and two or three calls about trees on wires. Slip Road was closed for a fallen tree, he said, which was cleaned up on Saturday morning.

Smart switches helped to restore power within minutes for 30,000 Eversource customers throughout the state, Woods said. The technology allows remote system operators to isolate and reroute power through a backup source after a wire comes down.

“We have installed more than 1,230 smart switches over the last five years,” she said.

Rindge experienced vehicles off the road and downed tree limbs on Friday and over the weekend, according to Rindge patrol officer Mark Griffin, but there were no significant accidents until Monday morning, when there were two crashes on Route 119.

The first crash occurred on Route 119 just west of Kimball Road. A 55-year-old man from Rindge, driving a Kia Sorento, lost control and went off the road at 10 a.m.

Shortly after, at about 11:10 a.m., police responded to another crash on Route 119. A 20-year-old Rindge woman was traveling West on Route 119, toward the Route 202 intersection, when she lost control of her Jeep Wrangler. She slid into the eastbound lane in the area of Cromwell Drive, and her vehicle made contact with a GMC Yukon driven by a 43-year-old man from Winchendon, which was traveling in the eastbound lane.

The front bumper of the Jeep collided with the back bumper of the Yukon, resulting in moderate damage. Neither driver was injured.


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, your source for Peterborough area news.

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

20 Grove St.
Peterborough, NH 03458


© 2019 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy