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Nor'easter's strong winds knock out power for nearly half a million residents

Tornado outbreak leaves destruction in South
Tornado outbreak leaves destruction in South 01:35

The powerful winter nor'easter that lashed parts of the region with powerful winds, heavy rain and flooding left nearly a million residents of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island without power on Wednesday.

There were 447,511 reported power outages in Massachusetts as of Wednesday night, according to the database PowerOutage.US, which tracks national outages. There were 43,958 outages in Rhode Island and 1,628 in Connecticut.

Towns along the Massachusetts coast, including Edgartown and Martha's Vineyard, recorded winds at nearly 100 miles per hour over a 24-hour period.  A wind advisery remained in effect until 4 a.m. ET Thursday, while the coast flood warning ended at 7 p.m. ET Wednesday.

"Numerous roads may be closed," the agency said. "Low lying property including homes, businesses, and some critical infrastructure will be inundated. Some shoreline erosion will occur."

In Nantucket, the storm reached "bomb cyclone" status on Wednesday, meaning that pressure rapidly dropped over a short period of time. It is the first bomb cyclone in the Nantucket area since October 17, 2019, according to the National Weather Service. But more recently, a massive bomb cyclone and atmospheric river slammed Northern California just this week, bringing flash floods and evacuation orders. 

The Weather Service on Wednesday morning warned of a "dangerous situation" across southeast Massachusetts with numerous downed trees. "TRAVEL IS NOT RECOMMENDED," the agency advised on Twitter. 

Coastal Storm
A pedestrian walks near the coastline Friday, March 2, 2018, in Newburyport, Mass. as a major nor'easter pounds the East Coast, packing heavy rain, intermittent snow and strong winds. The Eastern Seaboard is expected to be buffeted by wind gusts exceeding 50 mph, with possible hurricane-strength winds of 80 to 90 mph on Cape Cod. Elise Amendola / AP

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said officials are working to safely restore power to the hundreds of thousands of customers without it. At a storm update on Wednesday afternoon, Baker said about 500,000 customers were without power at the time. 

"It will be a multi-day process and if you have to go out and you're in some of these areas that have been really hard hit, we would ask you to be very safe when you do so," Baker said.

He told residents to expect delays on public transportation and warned of significant flooding.

The storm's conditions are expected to ease by Thursday with less gusty winds of 30 miles per hour across western Massachusetts into Connecticut, the National Weather Service said. Drier weather is forecast for Thursday and much of Friday with temperatures dropping to between 30 degrees Fahrenheit to 40 degrees. 

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