Tens of thousands still in the dark as another storm bears down on NH

Jan. 24—Crews raced Tuesday to restore power to tens of thousands of customers amid warnings from utilities of more outages when the third winter storm in a week arrives Wednesday.

That storm could drop more than a half-foot of snow across a wide swath of the state Wednesday night into Thursday, create dangerous travel conditions and produce 35 mph wind gusts.

NH Snow Totals

Totals provided by the National Weather Service.

Belknap County

* Sanbornton 14.5"

* Strafford 14.0"

* Meredith 13.8"

* Barnstead 13.5"

* Laconia 13"

Carroll County

* Ossipee 16.5"

* South Tamworth 16"

* Brookfield 15.1"

* Madison 13.8"

* Wolfeboro 13.5"

* Freedom 13.1"

* Center Sandwich 10.8"

Cheshire County

* Spofford 15"

* Marlow 13.5"

* Keene 13.2"

* Rindge 6.7"

* Coos County"

* Whitefield 9"

Grafton County

* Bristol 10.8"

* Plymouth 10.8"

* Lyme 9.8"

* Lincoln 9.5"

* Thornton 9.5"

* Hanover 6.5"

* Campton 5.8"

Hillsborough County

* Windsor 14"

* Hillsborough 13.8"

* Francestown 13"

* New Boston 12.6"

* Dublin 12"

* Amherst 9"

* Bedford 6.5"

* Manchester Airport 6.4"

* Hudson 5.8"

* Nashua 2.8"

Merrimack County

* Concord Airport 14.6"

* Tilton 14.5"

* Warner 14.0"

* Henniker 13.5"

* Canterbury 12.0"

* New London 10.5"

* South Hooksett 7.5"

Rockingham County

* Epsom 13.3"

* Deerfield 9.5"

* Sandown 5"

* Pease Airport 4.2"

Strafford County

* Rochester 11.8"

* Northwood 10"

* Dover 7"

* Durham 2"

Sullivan County

* Sunapee 17"

* Claremont 13.5"

* Acworth 11.5"

* Newport 11.5"

"With snow already on branches in many locations, the strong winds and additional weight of snow on tree limbs may down power lines and could cause sporadic power outages," said the National Weather Service.

Manchester could see snow and mixed precipitation overnight Wednesday change to rain Thursday with temperatures in the 40s.

This follows Monday's storm, which dropped a foot of snow or more in many places, including Concord, Rochester and Sunapee, and caused widespread outages.

Since Sunday, Eversource restored power to more than 185,000 customers across the state through mid-afternoon Monday.

The company had more than 900 crews drawn from other states and Canada out restoring electricity.

"We expect to substantially complete restoration of all current outages by 10 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday), with most restored sooner, and any current outages will be prioritized over any potential additional outages that may occur," Eversource spokesman William Hinkle said.

"We're also actively preparing for the storm forecasted to arrive tomorrow (Wednesday), as additional heavy, wet snow, icing and gusty conditions on top of the trees that are already weighed down from the snowfall of successive recent storms has the potential to cause more outages," Hinkle said.

The statewide count of homes and businesses without power dropped below 30,000, mostly Eversource customers, as of mid-afternoon.

An upside for some

Some people left without power stayed with friends. Others checked into hotels.

The outages meant more room bookings at the Country Inn & Suites in Bedford.

People come in saying "we're without power," said front desk agent Dan Burns. "Mostly couples," he said.

Burns also has handled bookings for utility repair crews.

"Oh yes, I just booked 20 more rooms alone for Eversource tonight," Burns said. "I imagine there will be more on Wednesday."

Superior courts in Rockingham and Strafford counties closed because of power outages, along with several other courts in those counties.

Kevin Bell, vice president of marketing at Loon Mountain Resort, said the Lincoln resort had picked up at least 15 inches of snow in a week.

"These storms have been a great bonus for us," Bell said.

"This season has been strong," Bell said. "In fact, last Saturday and Sunday, we sold out of day tickets. People in New England want to be outside during the winter, and we're proud to offer the most open terrain in New Hampshire."

More on the way

Other utilities joined Eversource's warning of upcoming power woes.

Seth Wheeler, spokesman for the New Hampshire Electric Co-op, said he expects more outages Wednesday night into Thursday, "given the forecast is similar to these recent heavy, wet snow events that have caused significant damage to our electrical system. I hope I'm wrong!"

At Unitil, spokeswoman Carol Valianti said: "Depending on how the storm unfolds, we could see additional outages throughout Unitil's service territory and even in areas where repairs were already made following Monday's storm."

Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour are possible Wednesday evening. Poor visibility and slippery conditions on untreated surfaces are possible.

"This storm looks probably warmer than the last two storms," said Mike Cempa, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

"Southern New Hampshire, we are predicting to go over to rain, but not until after several inches of snow fall." Cempa said.

The precipitation could remain snow in the mountains, Cempa said.