Strong rainstorm rips Northeast, leaves 1.5M without power


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A severe storm packing hurricane-force wind gusts and soaking rain swept through the Northeast early today, knocking out power for nearly 1.5 million homes and businesses and forcing hundreds of schools to close in New England.

Falling trees knocked down power lines across the region, and some utility companies warned customers that power could be out for a few days. Trees also fell onto some homes and vehicles, but no serious injuries were reported.

New England got the brunt of the storm, which brought sustained winds of up to 50 mph in some spots. A gust of 130 mph was reported at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire, while winds hit 82 mph in Mashpee on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

Utility company officials said it could be several days before power is restored in some parts of New England.

Maine was hit hard, with 492,000 homes and businesses losing electricity, surpassing the peak number from an infamous 1998 ice storm. The Portland International Jetport recorded a wind gust of 69 mph, and the Amtrak Downeaster service canceled a morning run due to down trees on the tracks.

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