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Storm snaps wires across county, traps motorist

Monday’s storm felled trees, limbs and powers lines across the county, leaving more than a thousand households and businesses without power and trapping an unlucky motorist for hours under power lines on Route 2.

At 7 p.m., police had blocked traffic on Route 2 just east of Pisgah Mountain Road in Gill. Shortly before 7:30 p.m., State Police Trooper Matthew Trombley of the Shelburne Barracks reported police had shut down Route 2 through Gill.

“There is one car, I don’t know how many occupants, (with) power lines draped over it,” Trombley said. “(Western Massachusetts Electric Co.) is out there with the fire department trying to pretty much save them right now.”

The initial call came in at 5:30 p.m., he said.

Reached again at 8:30 p.m., Trombley had good news.

“They did get her out; it was one female I believe. She’s out and safe but Route 2 is still shut down,” he said. “They’re taking care of power lines.”

The National Weather Service had warned of a line of thunderstorms capable of producing winds in excess of 60 mph Monday evening, and the weather delivered around the county.

Police, fire departments and utility crews responded to reports of trees down across roads and on wires around Franklin County from shortly before 5 p.m. onward.

At 6 p.m., after the rain had stopped and the wind returned to normal levels in the center of the county, WMECO reported 50 percent, 573, of its Shelburne customers without power; 401, or 40 percent, of Buckland customers without power; 308, or 85 percent, of Leyden customers and 97, or 10 percent, in Colrain equally in the dark.

Orange Fire Chief Dennis Annear reported the northern section of his town lost power for about an hour, affecting a couple thousand at his estimate. Annear said the utility, National Grid, reported a main feeder out down but by late evening only a few remained without power, due to a scattering of downed trees.

WMECO reported 285, or 3 percent, of Greenfield customers without power at 7 p.m.

Outage figures for Conway, Ashfield and Gill each reached the 20 to 50 range, with numbers in the single digits in Sunderland, Deerfield, Montague and Northfield.

In Shelburne, 625 customers remained without power until shortly before 8 p.m., when the lights came back on for all but 83. By that time WMECO reported power fully restored in Buckland.

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