Storm slams region, cuts power to thousands

  • The catamount sculpture on Colrain Shelburne Road in Shelburne on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Two plow trucks work in tandem on Route 2 in Shelburne during the storm on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Arthur A. Smith Covered Bridge in Colrain during the storm on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Vehicles stopped on Colrain Shelburne Road in Shelburne where power lines were down across the road on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Utility crews repair downed power lines on Route 2 in Shelburne during the storm on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Bruce Palmer clears snow from the sidewalk in front of his Shelburne Falls home during the storm on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Route 2 was temporarily closed Tuesday morning while utility crews in Shelburne removed trees and repaired power lines. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • A portion of Route 2 was closed while utility crews repaired downed power lines in Shelburne during the storm on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The east branch of the North River near Foundry Village in Colrain is a winter wonderland on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 3/14/2023 11:46:36 AM

Utility companies and local municipal departments were out straight on Tuesday responding to power outages caused by downed limbs, trees and poles as a nor’easter pounded the region.

Nearly 150,000 homes throughout New England were without power Tuesday morning, with many of those residences located in western Massachusetts. Spokespersons for Eversource and National Grid said their companies had mobilized thousands of personnel to remedy storm damage.

“We are well prepared for a multi-day nor’easter. We have hundreds of line and tree crews well-positioned throughout western Massachusetts responding to outages across our service territory,” Eversource spokesperson Priscilla Ress wrote in an email. “Since the beginning of this nor’easter, road conditions have been treacherous, slowing our crews heading to multiple sites to make repairs. The Berkshires as well as communities in the higher elevations that got the heaviest snow early in this storm are experiencing outages and we’ve got crews working to get the power restored as quickly and safely as possible. The challenge has been getting crews to the damaged electrical equipment, hampered by blocked roads and down trees.”

Ress said trees are the primary cause of power outages, and wet snow piling up on them often leads to broken limbs and branches that in some cases bring down dozens of trees at a time onto power lines and equipment.

“Heavy, wet snow is also accumulating on power lines and weighing them down,” Ress said. “We are working closely with the communities we serve to get the roads clear so we can get our crews in position to make repairs.”

Eversource outages can be tracked at

Ress also said Eversource must battle high winds that pose a threat to trees already snow-laden and weakened by the weight of the snow and ice. To make repairs safely, crews must wait for the wind to decrease.

John Lamontagne, spokesperson for National Grid, said his company has at least 1,000 crews made up of at least 3,000 field personnel responding to storm damage. The company has brought in crews from Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. He said anyone can examine National Grid’s outage map online at, though he mentioned outage numbers fluctuate throughout the day.

As of 10 a.m. on Tuesday, approximately 36,000 customers in Massachusetts were without power. The hardest hit communities were located in Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire and Worcester counties as of mid-morning. National Grid had restored power to at least 23,000 Massachusetts customers since the storm’s arrival Monday night.

“Losing your power at any time is frustrating, and we’re working hard to restore service as quickly and safely as possible,” Tanya Moniz-Witten, vice president of New England electric operations for National Grid, said in a statement. “Our crews are deployed across the state and will continue to work to repair and restore the power systems until every customer has their electricity back.”

Customers are reminded to avoid all downed wires and treat them as if they are live and powered. People should call their local police department or utility company if they see a downed wire.

The westbound lane of Route 2 in Greenfield was closed shortly before 10 a.m. on Tuesday because of downed wires and trees. According to Massachusetts State Police spokesperson David Procopio, the state Department of Transportation and utility companies responded to clear the roadway and all lanes were reopened at approximately 12:45 p.m.

Bill Simpson, spokesperson at the National Weather Service’s office in Norton, said Greenfield had received 5.8 inches of snow as of 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday and could expect about 6 to 8 inches overall. He said some towns could see up to 30 inches due to their high elevation. He mentioned Rowe recorded 27 inches as of 12:55 p.m.

“As expected, it’s going to be a whopper,” said Simpson, a meteorologist by trade.

He forecasted the Greenfield area would likely have partly sunny weather Wednesday with highs in the low 40s. He said highs would be in the mid- to upper 40s on Thursday and Friday.

The state Department of Conservation and Recreation has temporarily closed its western Massachusetts properties to assess and clear roadways, paths and trails, and address any other damages caused by the winter storm. All areas typically open to the public — including parking lots, roadways, walking trails and snowmobile trails — will remain closed until the assessment is complete and the areas are deemed safe. Parks are expected to reopen on Thursday, however, people should check the website ( for updates.

Reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-930-4120.


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