Thunderstorms knock out power to thousands

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BENNINGTON — Thousands of residents in southern Vermont and eastern New York lost electricity after powerful thunderstorms swept through the region Thursday night, downing trees and branches that snapped poles and power lines.

Crews were still working on Friday afternoon to restore electricity to customers. As of 2:30 p.m., Green Mountain Power reported about 200 homes and businesses in Bennington County were still affected. National Grid reported hundreds were still without electricity in parts of Rensselaer and Washington New York Counties.

The storm caused about 30,000 outages across Vermont, said Dotty Schnure, spokeswoman for Green Mountain Power. About 6,600 customers were affected in Bennington County at the storm's peak.

"We had crews working throughout the night and we brought on extra crews," Schnure said. "We've made a lot of progress, but there was a lot of damage."

As of 2:30 p.m., outages were still affecting some 200 customers in parts of Arlington, Bennington, Pownal, Shaftsbury and Winhall.

In Windham County, over 1,000 customers are still affected. That includes 100 in Jamaica, 167 in Rockingham, 432 in Putney and 572 in Westminster.

The storm blew through between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. and brought wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour.

Rob Allen, mayor of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., said the village is working hard to clean up after the storm. National Grid hopes to restore power to most everyone this afternoon, he said.

"The immediate priority right now is working with National Grid on the few roads that remain closed due to downed power lines and poles," Allen wrote in a community update on Friday afternoon. "After that, cleanup for the entire village will begin immediately, with a focus on the area where tomorrow's race [32nd Annual Wood Memorial 5K & Fun Run] will be."

Hoosick Falls Central School administrators dismissed students early, citing continuing power outages and a generator failure. Junior and senior high school students were dismissed at 11:15 a.m. and elementary school students at 12:20 p.m.

National Grid reported that, at its peak, 40,000 people were affected across Upstate New York, from Syracuse east to the Vermont state line. At 9 a.m., the utility provider reported 29,300 customers without power. That number dropped to 26,000 by 11 a.m. and to 21,000 by 2:30 p.m.

In Rensselaer County, about 730 customers are still without power as of 2:30 p.m., according to the National Grid Outage Central website, down from about 2,600 at 11 a.m. That includes about 300 in Hoosick and 300 in Hoosick Falls.

About 7,600 are still without power in Washington County: 600 in Cambridge, 900 in the village of Cambridge and 670 in White Creek.

This story will be updated.

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