Monadnock region hit by late-winter blast


Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 03-15-2023 2:38 PM

During the nor’easter that dropped more than two feet of snow across the region Tuesday, knocked out power for thousands and postponed elections for two weeks, Monadnock Community Hospital stayed open.

The power was out at the hospital, so it ran on generators, said Laura Gingras, the hospital’s vice president of philanthropy and community relations. She saluted the dedication of hospital staff.

Despite 35 inches of snow in Peterborough, reported by the National Weather Service, the hospital staff showed up.

“Our clinical folks are just amazing. They always come in,” she said, noting that many of the staff have to commute more than the two miles that she does. “They get here somehow. They make the hospital run.”

Also due for praise, Gingras said, is the hospital’s support staff.

“To keep a hospital going 24/7, it takes people in critical positions, and they never let us down.”

Gingras said most of the hospital’s practices were open Tuesday, although a lot of patients canceled appointments, and the hospital’s Emergency Department was not busier than usual.

Road blockages and outages

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In Antrim, which the National Weather Service reported received 28.5 inches of snow, Police Detective Ethan Christensen said the day was “busy, but manageable.” The department received numerous calls about trees and wires being down, and Christensen said Route 9 was shut down for a little while due to cars and tractor-trailers being struck, but there were no injuries.

On Wednesday morning, Christensen said the roads were mostly clear.

“There’s still some limbs and stuff that need to be cleaned up, but everything’s pretty much cleaned up now,” he said.

In Peterborough, Capt. Ernest Belletete said the storm resulted in a lot of fallen tree limbs and power lines down. Belletete said some roads were closed Tuesday, and as of Wednesday morning, “there are still a lot of locations without power” including Concord Street, Sandhill Road and the north part of town.

In Jaffrey, the town advised Wednesday that the town offices would be open for residents who needed to warm up or charge cellphones. The town posted on its Facebook page that it would be assessing the need for longer-term warming shelters, and advised those in need to contact the Jaffrey town office at 603-532-7445 and leave a message with their name and contact information.

Temple Emergency Management Director Bill McDonnell cautioned residents to be prepared for multiple days without power.

“The recent storm has impacted our area to a much larger extent than Eversource had anticipated,” McDonnell wrote in an update posted to the town’s website on Wednesday. McDonnell said it could take between two and six days to return power to every residence in town.

As of 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, Eversource reported that the estimated time for “substantial restoration” for all towns, meaning 99 percent of customers would have power, is Friday at 6 p.m., although most would be restored sooner.

At noon Tuesday, percentages of Eversource customers without power ranged from 21.8 percent in Wilton and 33.57 percent in Jaffrey through between 98 and 99 percent in Francestown, Greenfield, Hancock, Sharon and Temple.

Keeping safe

In the aftermath of the storm, the state Department of Safety’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and state fire marshal’s office urged residents and visitors to be safe.

“If you come across downed wires, stay away and call 911, and never drive around road barriers,” stated HSEM Director Robert Buxton.

HSEM and the fire marshal’s office also noted that snow could create blockages around building vents, increasing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Be sure to shovel snow away from vents,” stated Fire Marshal Sean Toomey. “Never run a generator inside your home. Only operate generators outdoors and make sure your generator is at least 10 feet away from windows, doors, and vents. Carbon monoxide is an invisible killer and can build up quickly. Unfortunately, it is odorless and colorless, and can kill you and your family in minutes.”

Bill Fonda, Ashley Saari and Rowan Wilson contributed to this story.