High winds in Connecticut leave 120,000 without power

Tens of thousands of customers remained without electricity early Thursday, a day after high winds whipped through Connecticut bringing down tree limbs and power lines.

At least one death had been blamed on the storm.

A spokesman for Connecticut Light & Power said as of 8 a.m. Thursday, some 58,000 of its 1.1 million customers were without power, down from 120,000 at the peak of the outages.

“We’re doing a lot of assessment still,” Chris Riley, a spokesman for the power company, said Thursday morning. “We’re hopeful the vast majority of our customers will be up by late this afternoon. But that’s just a projection at this point.”

Crews for United Illuminating Co. also worked through the night to restore power to customers affected by the wind storm. Kevin Moore, a UI spokesman, said that at the peak, about 36,000 of its customers were without electricity. That number stood at about 10,000 as of 7 a.m. Thursday.

Moore said that the restoration would be time consuming because the outages ranged from some major lines to hundreds of small lines between poles and homes. It could be Friday before all UI customers were back up, he said.

About 500 CL&P employees worked on restoring outages overnight. Riley said the company called on 50 crews from Canada for additional help.

A 70-year-old man was killed in Westport when high winds knocked down a tree onto his moving car on Bulkley Avenue North. The victim was identified as Raymond Maceyunas of Easton.

Metro North commuter service on the New Canaan branch was affected by the winds. The first train at 5:38 a.m. was canceled because train signals were knocked out.

The weather service said winds reached 35 mph with gusts of more than 55 mph. Meteorologists said Connecticut was caught between a high pressure system to the west and Hurricane Gustav to the east.

“What actually is causing most of the wind here is an invasion of cold Canadian air,” weather service meteorologist Mike Jackson said.

–Associated Press

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