Shelter Opens, As Power Outage Expected To Last Into Monday

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Around 2,000 Vermont households and businesses have been without power since Friday, and the lights still might not come back on until Monday.

Green Mountain Power crews have been working through the night to fix significant damage to power lines in Rutland and Addison Counties. Additional contract crews from Maine will be arriving this morning to help. Contract crews from Connecticut have already been called in.

Green Mountain Power says that the hardest-hit areas are Lincoln, Starksboro and Goshen in Addison County, and Poultney, Wells, Castleton, Brandon and Pawlet in Rutland Counties. GMP says lineworkers are working around the clock, but in many instances it can take several hours of work just to bring one or two homes back online. The company says it took seven hours of work to restore power to 15 Poultney customers on Saturday. In the Castleton-Poultney area, 18 broken power poles must be replaced.

"We’re making steady progress in most areas, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us in western Rutland County and Addison County," GMP spokesperson Jeremy Baker said.  "As we complete restoration in other areas, we will be moving dozens more workers into the western sections on Sunday morning to speed the recovery effort."

The weather has also been a concern as some people are without heat when there’s no power. The American Red Cross opened a shelter last night at the Leahy Center at the Rutland Regional Medical Center for the safety of those without power as temperatures fall.

"As the weather changes and temperatures drop, customers without heat are a big concern," said Baker, "GMP employees have called community leaders and are going door to door in towns hardest hit to provide safety information and progress updates so they can make appropriate plans."

Vermont Electric Cooperative finished restoring power to their customers last night.

Meanwhile, police are blaming the storm for the death of a man driving a dump truck on U.S. Route 7 in Middlebury. The truck was struck by a tractor-trailer that was blown from the opposite lane by a strong gust of wind on Friday.

The victim is identified as 50-year-old Pierre Bilodeau of Whiting.

Friday’s windstorm brought gusts of up to 86 mph on the top of Mount Mansfield and winds of 70 mph and greater at lower elevations.

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