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'A Tough One': Scenic Nantucket Recovers After Storm Causes Havoc

Utility crews expected by midnight to restore power to a little more than 3,000 customers on Nantucket after the entire island went dark Tuesday.

Massachusetts’ governor visited members of the National Guard and other first responders on Nantucket Wednesday, as the electricity provider vowed its crews "will not rest" until power is restored to everyone on the scenic island a day after a massive snow and ice storm left the community of more than 10,000 people in the dark.

Nearly 600 customers remained without power as Wednesday night turned to Thursday morning, down from the 12,800 that lost power when the island went dark Tuesday morning, utility company National Grid said. About eighty additional workers and extra line trucks were sent on the first ferries to Nantucket Wednesday morning to help with repairs, National Grid spokesman Jake Navarro said.

Nantucket was spared some of the worst snowfalls in New England, receiving a foot of snow as the nor’easter rolled through — other parts of Massachusetts got three feet of snow. But it saw hurricane-force winds that gusted to 78 mph, parts of the island flooded, and an ice storm blacked out the entire island after ice coated both transformers in a substation, officials said.

A baby was delivered in a hospital that had to rely on a backup generator, and Nantucket’s 911 line went down for a time, Nantucket Police Chief William Pittman said.

By Wednesday, however, things had improved.

“We're back on line," Pittman told NBC's TODAY. "We're back in the 21st century, I guess."

While Nantucket, located about 20 miles south of Cape Cod, is known for extreme weather Navarro couldn't recall another time that the entire island lost power. "Nantucket had that triple whammy of hurricane force winds, and a blizzard, and an ice storm,” Navarro said.

Officials were assessing the damage Wednesday. Some buildings downtown had water up to their foundations, and grocery stores were left without power for an extended amount of time. In a sign that things were getting back to normal — although one school kids might not appreciate — the town announced schools would be back open Thursday.

"Everybody pitches in, everybody does something. If they’ve got a plow on their truck, they use it, if they’ve got a house that’s warm, they let their neighbors come in and join them. It does very well in a storm like this," Pittman said. "This was a tough one."



— Phil Helsel