Thousands lose power in New Hampshire

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Icy, windy weather left about 30,000 homes and businesses without power in southern New Hampshire on Monday.

Public Service Company of New Hampshire, the state’s biggest electric utility, said the outages were concentrated in the southern and southwestern parts of the state, where a mix of sleet, snow and freezing rain was coating roads, trees and power lines with ice.

Most of the outages were in the Manchester and Nashua areas, where vehicles sliding off icy roads hit utility poles and tree branches fell on power lines.

The towns of Derry, Londonderry, Hudson and Windham also were affected, as was the Seacoast region.

“The company does not expect all customers to have power restored until late in the day on Tuesday,” PSNH’s Martin Murray said in a statement. Extra crews, some from Connecticut and Massachusetts, were expected to work on the outages in the morning.

In Nashua, the Red Cross opened a regional emergency shelter at the Nashua South High School.

The weather also affected air travel, causing delays for airplanes to be deiced at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, and canceling some flights.

It snowed in the North Country, leaving 8 inches in Dixville Notch, 6 inches in Columbia, 5 inches in Colebrook, and 2 inches in North Conway. Ski areas and northern businesses dependent on snowmobiling received some accumulation before the snow turned into sleet. Bretton Woods reported 3.5 inches, Waterville Valley and Cannon Mountain had 3 inches, and Attitash and Loon Mountain reported 2 inches.

“Mother Nature kind of came through for us,” said Chris Ellms at Bretton Woods. “The temperatures are getting colder, we got a little snow yesterday, get some more snow today, and skiing’s pretty good.”

Scattered snowshowers were forecast for the North Country overnight.

In Merrimack, firefighters responded to numerous calls for service. Most of them were weather-related, involving tree branches on wires or breaking and pulling the wires down.

Power outages cause several fire alarm activations as well as causing one resident’s pellet stove to malfunction and fill the house with smoke.

The National Weather Service said temperatures will fail to make it to the melting point Tuesday in most spots, with highs expected to range from the mid-teens in the north and mountains to around 30 along the coast.

On Tuesday night, arctic air is expected to settle into New England, producing the coldest temperatures yet over New Hampshire, with readings dropping into single digits and below. High pressure will then build in from the west on Wednesday to keep things fair and cold through Wednesday night before a southwest flow sets up to bring higher temperatures on Thursday.

AP-ES-01-15-07 2226EST

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