IMAGE: Uprooted tree on house
Meg Maruyama  /  AP
A tree uprooted by high winds rests against a new home in Palisades Park, N.J., on Sunday.
updated 10/30/2006 5:48:55 PM ET 2006-10-30T22:48:55

Howling winds slicing across the Northeast over the weekend tore into trees and power lines, leaving thousands of customers still without power Monday. The storm contributed to at least three deaths and hampered the search for a man who fell off a cruise ship.

More than 100,000 utility customers throughout the region, including 44,000 in Maine and 38,000 in upstate New York, lost power when winds gusted up as high as 79 mph.

“The leaves are coming off the trees and the voting signs are on the ground,” said Dawn Banks, a resident of Mattydale in Onondaga County. The Halloween headstones on her lawn, each weighing between 10 to 15 pounds, were “blowing about pretty good,” Banks said.

Electricity was largely restored in many areas by Monday morning, but in Maine more than 23,000 homes and businesses were still without power. Around 9,000 customers still lacked power in upstate New York and at least 3,000 in New Hampshire.

In Massachusetts, Nantucket’s 10,000 residents temporarily lost 911 service Sunday and thousands more in the state lost power.

2 die in Mass., 1 probable in N.H.
In Deerfield, Mass., a 58-year-old motorcyclist was killed by a downed tree, police officer D.N. Bates said. And in New Hampshire, a 36-year-old man drowned Saturday when his kayak overturned on a rain-swollen river, state officials said.

Another man was missing after falling off a cruise ship on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee during a party late Saturday, and authorities said it was doubtful he could have survived for long in the cold water.

With water temperatures in the 50s, searchers said anyone in the water would have been overcome by hypothermia in a matter of minutes.

The search resumed Monday, and dispatcher Michelle Montville said it was aimed at recovering the body, not at a rescue. Searchers who battled high winds and driving rain had found nothing immediately after the accident, and the dangerous weather had forced officials to suspend their efforts later Sunday.

Meteorologist John Cristantello said the high winds were caused by a stronger-than-normal low pressure system that passed through Pennsylvania and New York on its way to southeastern Canada.

Crane topples on homes
A 165-foot crane with a wrecking ball at a hospital construction site toppled in a Portland, Maine, neighborhood Sunday morning. Three houses were hit, but no injuries were reported.

The wrecking ball narrowly missed a passing car.

“The first thing I saw was the ball coming down really fast about 10 feet from us,” said Colleen Mowatt, 48, whose boyfriend hit the brakes just in time. “It hit the roadway, and the rest of the crane just fell on the buildings in front of us.”

A wind gust of 79 mph was reported in Sedgwick, Maine, on Saturday, and rainfall across the state totaled more than 3 inches.

The winds caused problems at major airports, including Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, where delays were reported all weekend.

In New Jersey’s Washington Township, a couple was injured when a 150-foot oak tree fell onto their home. Authorities said David Monahan, 48, and his wife, Denise, 43, both suffered head lacerations when the tree, which was between 4 and 5 feet in diameter, fell through their family room and a bedroom.

10 inches of snow in upstate New York
In parts of upstate New York, the wind was combined with heavy lake-effect snow. At least 10 inches fell of snow in Old Forge in Herkimer County.

John Quinlan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany, said the agency’s weather observers in the Adirondacks had difficulty accurately measuring snowfall totals later Sunday because of winds gusting to more than 50 mph.

Andria DeLisle Heath, executive director of the American Red Cross Mohawk Valley (N.Y.) Chapter, said blackouts were scattered and short in duration. “As power comes on in some places, it seems to go off in others,” she said.

The weather observatory atop New Hampshire’s 6,288-foot Mount Washington, famous for severe weather at almost any time of the year, reported sustained wind of 100 mph and a gust to 114 mph.

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