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Storms tear down trees

An afternoon thunderstorm felled trees and ripped utility cables from their poles Thursday.

Calls reporting storm damage began coming in around 2 p.m. Among the first was a report of downed primary wires on Northfield Road in Erving, knocking out power to 73 of 420 Western Massachusetts Electric Co. customers in that town.

Two trees downed at about 2:30 in Deerfield caused traffic problems, as police closed a 3∕ 4-mile stretch of busy Routes 5 and 10. Traffic was re-routed through Old Deerfield and Bars Farm areas as tree workers cleaned up the mess. While a large tree that fell across the road near 440 Greenfield Road caused the bulk of the blockage, a fallen tree at Mill Village Road took out wires and caused an isolated power outage.

Another outage was caused in Montague Center, where a falling tree took out power lines near the intersection of Greenfield and Meadow roads, cutting off power to several customers.

Several false fire alarms were triggered by power surges from lightning strikes, said Turners Falls Fire Capt. John Zellmann.

A downed tree was also reported on Zoar Road in Charlemont, but it did not cause an outage.

WMECO line and tree workers had plenty to do in Franklin County and beyond.

WMECO spokesman Thomas Dorsey said the outages would be repaired by 9 p.m., though more could come as the night wore on.

“We’re holding our own right now, but the night is still young,” Dorsey said Thursday evening. “The worst of the storm is supposed to be past by 11 p.m.”

Dorsey said WMECO made sure to have plenty of workers on premises and ready to go, and more on call.

“We saw the storm coming, and made all the necessary preparations,” he said.

The night’s forecast called for more thunderstorms after press time.

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