Wednesday September 19, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Electric service restoration and debris cleanup continued Wednesday after Tuesday's double-barreled severe weather that caused widely scattered tree damage and power outages in the Berkshires.

Nearly all of the outages took place Tuesday night, affecting more than 2,200 homes and businesses, when the second of two storm systems blew through the county between 7 and 8 p.m.

As of noontime on Wednesday, Western Massachusetts Electric Co. reported less than 100 of its customers were still without power. WMECO officials expected all power to be restored later this afternoon.

At the height of the storm, the utility had more than 3,900 customers in the dark in Western Massachusetts -- more than 1,400 in Berkshire County.

WMECO officials say they were prepared for Mother Nature's onslaught.

"We had some crews pre-positioned throughout our coverage area," said spokeswoman Sandra Ahearn. "We've managed to handle the damage with our regular crews and a few private contractors."

Meanwhile, National Grid report about five customers are waiting at midday Wednesday to have service restored. The Berkshires' other electricity provided worked through the night dealing with 815 customers who lost power, the majority in North Adams and Florida.

Meanwhile, local and state highway crews on Wednesday morning still were cutting up and removing trees and tree limbs that fell -- mostly on area roads -- brought down by wind gust of up to 40 mph. The bulk of the damage occurred during the night time storm that produced heavy downpours for the second time in a 12-hour period.

Combined with the daytime soggy storm system, overall precipitation for Tuesday ranged from 2 to 3 inches, with Pittsfield receiving a total of 2.3 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service in Albany N.Y. NWS meteorologists say the 4.7 reported to them as of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday was inaccurate.

Other rainfall amounts include Becket at 2.87inches, Lanesborough with 2.4, Savoy with 2, and Stockbridge, 1.9.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.