Mountain towns see multiple power outages, storm damage

JAMAICA - It was the second major storm to hit the area in two years and like Irene which preceded it, it was the Town of Jamaica that seemed to be impacted the most.

However, it was a little different this time.

Shortly after 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Green Mountain Power's Web site indicated that there were 23 separate problems in Jamaica and that 1,083 people were without power. By comparison, out of the surrounding towns of Landgrove, Londonderry, Peru, Stratton, Weston and Winhall, Weston had the second most people without power - 291 - at that time.

By about 3:30 p.m. though the situation had reversed. Only 87 people in Jamaica were without power then and the numbers in Weston had escalated to 873. At that time, 174 people in Winhall, 115 in Londonderry, 33 in Stratton, 19 in Peru and 23 in Landgrove were still without power.

Representative Oliver Olsen (R - Windham-Bennington-Windsor-1) who lives in Jamaica said Tuesday afternoon that he had lost power around 6 p.m. on Monday evening and that it still had not been restored.

Unlike Irene, the biggest threat from the after effects of Hurricane Sandy was the high winds which ended up taking down a number of trees and power lines not only in Jamaica, but the other towns as well.

"There were a lot of trees that came down. In fact there was a tree that came down along Route 30 like 100 feet from my house," said Olsen. "That was probably about seven o'clock or so. So, I went out there with my chain saw."

The tree had fallen a little up the road from where the bridge in Jamaica Village was washed away last year during Irene where there is sharp bend in the road. Olsen said that a UPS truck and a fuel truck had gotten stopped due to the tree and that the driver of the fuel truck was nervous that there might be an accident as motorists coming down the hill would be unaware that cars were stopped on the hill because of the bend in the road.

Although Jamaica may have experienced the most people without power for an extended period of time, there were a couple of towns - most notably Londonderry - where property damaged occurred.

"We did see some wind damage to a few buildings and we have four residences that were damaged by some trees falling on them," said Londonderry Emergency Management Director Kevin Beattie. "A couple of them were primary residences, but nobody got hurt and two of them were secondary homes."

Olsen that there was "a pretty good sized tree" that fell on one of the homes in Londonderry and penetrated the roof and that two vehicles were significantly damaged, if not destroyed, by trees that had fallen on them.

Beattie said that there had been some minor flooding in Londonderry, but nothing significant.

In Weston, Olsen said that the weathervane and part of the steeple of the Old Parish Church had been lost due to the storm.

The winds from the storm were so strong that part of the Winhall Town Garage roof was torn off sometime between 8 and 9 p.m. on Monday.

"A portion of it, one bay [was torn off]," said Town Administrator Dennis McCarthy. "It had to be the bay that had the office, the work bench and all the tools in it. It couldn't have been one of the ones with a truck in it," meaning that there would have been less likelihood of water damage, he said.

Although McCarthy hadn't heard about any individual injuries or property damage, he said that at least one family was trapped in their home until Green Mountain Power could get the downed power lines back up and the town could get the fallen trees out of the way.

"They're fine," said McCarthy of the people who were confined to their home. "We're in communication with them through e-mail."

The storm also caused some roads to be closed on Monday evening and on Tuesday. Reilly Road, Boyton Road and Little Pond Road in Londonderry were closed mainly due to fallen power lines and as of 2 p.m. on Tuesday, both Little Pond Road and Boyton Road were still closed, Beattie said. West Jamaica Road had been closed briefly on Monday evening, according to Olsen, and McCarthy said South Road in Winhall had been reduced to one lane traffic due to the collapse of a culvert.

In Stratton the damage was minor, according to Town Clerk Kent Young who said that some trees and wires had fallen and there were power outages, but that none of the roads had to be closed. Young also said there may have been some minor damage to houses.


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