By MICHAEL HILL
ALBANY, NY (AP) – A late-season storm dumped six inches (15 centimeters) or more of heavy, wet snow on parts of Pennsylvania, upstate New York and northern New England on Tuesday.
The storm snapped tree limbs and interrupted power to more than 350,000 utility customers in New York alone, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Some higher-elevation areas in that region had 14 inches (35 centimeters) of snow by morning, although accumulations were less for lower-lying areas, according to the National Weather Service in hard-hit Binghamton, New York.
“Most of that event occurred between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. So people woke up in darkness, the alarms didn’t go off, and realized that they were in for perhaps a long haul without having their critical power,” Hochul said at Tuesday evening press conference.
The storm also brought strong gusts that lashed New England, topping at 142 miles per hour (229 kph) on Mount Washington, New Hampshire, and 83 mph (134 kph) at Matinicus Rock off Maine, the National Weather Service reported.
New York officials said power restoration would be a multi-day effort due to the nature of the spring storm and its heavy, wet snowfall. The snow fell on budding trees and bushes, but began melting by midday in some areas.
All roads in the Binghamton area had reopened and a travel ban was lifted in the late afternoon by Broome County Executive Jason Garnar. Still, he discouraged people from driving as crews continued to remove tree limbs and downed wires.
The number of New York utility customers without power was down to around 164,000 by 7 p.m. Outages stretched from the Southern Tier to the Adirondack Mountains.
At one point, around 47,000 customers were without power in northeast Pennsylvania. Most of the 39,000 outages in New England were in Maine and Vermont, where some parts of the state received six inches of snow or more.
Work crews had reduced the number of outages by late afternoon. But Green Mountain Power, Vermont’s largest electric utility, said new outages were expected as the snow continued to fall and gusty winds enter the region.
“We want everyone to be alert to the changing weather conditions and always stay far away from any downed lines or trees as they could still be energized,” the utility’s director of operations, Eric Lemery, said in a statement.
Associated Press writers Wilson Ring in Montpelier, Vermont, and David Sharp in Portland, Maine, contributed.