A powerful northeast “bomb cyclone” has caused power outages — from New York to Maine — that have affected more than 500,000 customers as of Thursday morning.
The storm is expected to “continue to bring heavy rainfall, gusty winds, and coastal erosion to parts of New England through Thursday” before approaching eastern Canada by Friday, the National Weather Service said.
“A bomb cyclone is a rapidly strengthening storm that will almost certainly unleash strong damaging winds and heavy rain, Accuweather meteorologist Bill Deger tells TIME. “We’ve seen that with this storm.”
Massachusetts and Rhode Island have been hit especially hard, Deger says, adding that the cyclone is probably at “peak intensity right now.” But, “As far as damaging winds are concerned, those should be over by tonight and tomorrow for sure,” Deger says. He says the big danger is not flooding, but wind—and that some wind gusts have reached the 70-90 mph range.
“There is a danger to life and property but the good news is the storm is starting to pull away from Southern New England,” Deger says. “We’re still going to see some strong winds with gusts as high as 40-50 mph but I think the strongest winds are in the past in places like Boston and Providence.”
As of 8:47 a.m. on Thursday, more than 225,000 customers in Massachusetts alone had lost power, according to the state’s emergency management agency. Massachusetts State police have already responded to “numerous reports” of downed trees and utility wires.
Troop B patrols have responded to numerous reports of trees and some utility wires down along the I91 corridor from Springfield to Deerfield and and western counties throughout the Troop area. Roads blocked in some instances. Utilities and @MassDOT also responded for cleanup.
— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) October 17, 2019
Local law enforcement is also helping with the response.
An officer is on scene with a tree and wires down on Pike St near Fox Run Dr in #Tewksbury due to the storm. Power is out in the area, @nationalgridus has been notified. One lane of travel on Pike St remains open. TPD21 pic.twitter.com/mMIBx5cXXJ
— Tewksbury Police (@TewksburyPD) October 17, 2019
Maximum wind speeds have been recorded up to 81 mph in New Harbor, Maine—about 40 miles northeast of Portland—with winds measuring in 40, 50 and 60-mph range across the state.
— NWS Gray (@NWSGray) October 17, 2019
Forecasters say the storm has brought “chilly and gusty winds” and low temperatures around the 30s and 40s. These “chilly conditions” are likely to remain until Friday, according to Accuweather.
Power outages are impacting over 450,000 customers in the Northeast as a powerful storm system continues to impact the area. Those left in the dark will face chilly conditions into Friday: https://t.co/fJsWXOJv1I pic.twitter.com/X2Cby6XCPS
— AccuWeather (@breakingweather) October 17, 2019