By Michael P. Norton and Chris Lisinski, State House News Service
More than 220,000 people without power in Massachusetts may have to wait until the afternoon to get their electricity back after a wind-driven storm tore through the region overnight, downing trees and power lines.
“If you live along the coast, it was a pretty messy night,” Baker said during a 7:20 a.m. radio interview. “My guess is it will probably be this afternoon before we get most people back.”
In addition to darkened homes, many Massachusetts residents awoke to school and street closures, and predictions of “severe delays” on commuter rail and MBTA lines, creating headaches for Thursday morning’s commute.
Service on the Green Line’s D branch was replaced with shuttle buses between Riverside and Newton Highlands because a downed tree both blocked tracks and damaged power lines. As of 9:30 a.m., crews were still working to clear the scene near Waban.
Commuter rail trains on the Newburyport/Rockport Lines were suspended early in the morning because of several weather-related incidents, but resumed running — albeit with delays — just before 8 a.m.
Lowell Line trains were delayed because of flooding, and the Greenbush Line experienced “significant delays due to power supply issues affecting signals,” according to the Commuter Rail’s Twitter account.
“While most of the network will see minor delays, the Newburyport/Rockport, Lowell, Greenbush and Middleboro lines are expected to see significant delays,” Keolis spokesman Tory Mazzola said in an email.
During the interview with Greg Hill on WEEI — the station itself was operating on generator power — Baker called restoring electricity “job number one” but said utility crews would be impeded by the return of gusty winds during the day Thursday.
“That is probably going to limit how much and how fast people can get up in the trucks and do some of this work,” he said. “When the wind gets above a certain number of miles per hour … it gets pretty dangerous. And there were wind gusts last night that were way north of 50 miles an hour, way north.”
Baker said he lost power at his Swampscott home “briefly” at 2:30 a.m. He looked out a window overnight and thought a big linden tree in his side yard was going to come down. “It didn’t, thankfully, he said.