Tens of thousands of residents in New England and New York were left without power as a massive snowstorm dumped about two feet of snow in some places. 160,000 customers in New England were left in the dark with 20,000 in New York. According to poweroutage.us, an outage database, the heavy snow caused tree limbs to fall on powerlines, knocking out power.
Restoration crews responded immediately, but efforts were hindered by snow still falling in some areas. Some roads were covered in snow, and travel was dangerous. It was immensely difficult for the crews to assess the damage and begin restoration. Eversource president of electric operations in New Hampshire, Doug Foley, commented on the conditions to NPR recently.
“We are still taking on system damage in parts of the state where heavy, wet snow continues to fall, and hundreds of additional crews are coming to New Hampshire to support our restoration effort,” said Foley in a statement.
By Saturday in New Hamshire, 61,000 residents had their power resorted, with about 40,000 remaining in the dark. In Vermont, Green Mountain Power reported that temperatures were unlikely to warm enough during the day to melt the accumulated snow. Because of this, more outages are possible.
“Clearing downed trees to get to outage locations has been slow and difficult,” said Mike Burke, vice president of field operation for Green Mountain Power. There is currently no official word from the various power companies on when power could be fully restored across New England and New York.
Snowstorms and Icy Weather Cause Birds to Crash Land In Utah
The winter storms aren’t just affecting the human population, but also the birds. In Utah, state wildlife officials are reporting that stormy conditions are causing some birds to crash land into the ground. This results in injury and sometimes death. But why are the birds divebombing the ground?
First of all, the main species of bird that is found executing these behaviors is the black-necked grebe. This waterbird typically makes a pitstop in Utah as it migrates across the country in winter. They need lakes or ponds for take-offs and landings. What happens is, water builds up on the ground during storms, and the birds mistake these accumulations for actual bodies of water. They dive for the perceived lake, and end up crash landing into the ground.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources shared the news that an incident had occurred after a snowstorm on Dec. 12. “Due to last night’s storm,” the department wrote on Facebook, “many of these waterbirds have crash landed in open areas in Iron and Washington counties after mistaking them for bodies of water.”
They continued, “These bird crash landings typically happen every year. However, a large number of birds crashing at the same time is more uncommon. While unfortunate, these events usually don’t affect enough birds to have an impact on the overall populations.”