Press-Republican

October 30, 2012

Vt. 'lucked out' in Sandy hit, but many powerless

WILSON RING
Associated Press

— MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Thousands of Vermonters remained without power Tuesday morning and schools were closed from one end of the state to the other, but experts said the state was spared serious damage from Superstorm Sandy.

As the storm approached the New Jersey coast on Monday it unexpectedly picked up speed, which helped reduce the danger to Vermont, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Whittier.

There were still significant gusts of wind and a wind advisory remains in effect until 5 p.m.

"It has done its stuff, but it very well could have been a magnitude or more stronger and we lucked out," he told Vermont Public Radio.

As of 7:30 a.m., Vermont utilities reported about 10,100 customers without power.

There were no immediate reports of significant flooding.

Meanwhile most state employees were told to report to work later than usual Tuesday and some schools from one end of the state to the other were given the day off.

Gusty winds had been forecast from the southern part of the state through the Canadian border as the leading edge of the storm arrived in the state Monday evening and overnight, knocking down power lines and closing roads.

The center of the enormous storm made landfall at 8 p.m. near Atlantic City, N.J., after it was reclassified from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone.

The winds began to pick up Monday afternoon and were expected to continue overnight before diminishing.

Vermont's Emergency Operations Center began 24 hour operations on Monday and it will remain open, probably until Wednesday.

At the same time, the regional affiliate of the American Red Cross announced it was opening emergency shelters in Rutland, Wilmington and Winhall. Flynn said other shelters were on standby in Brattleboro, Bennington, Hartford, St. Albans and Barre.

Vermont is still recovering from Irene, which killed six people, destroyed or damaged hundreds of miles of roads and bridges and left hundreds homeless.