Tropical Storm Irene gives Wolfeboro area a pass


Brookfield and Wakefield without PSNH power for days



AIreneWolfeboroSewallRo
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THESE PINES keeled over, roots and all, and snapped in the rain and wind coming off Lake Winnipesaukee along Sewall Road on Sunday, Aug. 28, as Tropical Storm Irene passed through the area. (Elissa Paquette photo) (click for larger version)

AIreneWolfeboroSewallRo
shadow
THESE PINES keeled over, roots and all, and snapped in the rain and wind coming off Lake Winnipesaukee along Sewall Road on Sunday, Aug. 28, as Tropical Storm Irene passed through the area. (Elissa Paquette photo) (click for larger version)
September 01, 2011
WOLFEBORO — Although Tropical Storm Irene was responsible for one fatal accident and cut electric power to up to 400 customers at its peak, for the most part the storm simply dumped lots of rain, leaves and branches in the Wolfeboro area before moving on Sunday evening.

Brookfield and Wakefield were not so fortunate. PSNH customers lost power about 12:30 p.m. on Sunday and, as of press time late on Tuesday, power was just being restored after more than two days. When the power outage first occurred on Sunday, more than 4,200 customers in both towns were affected. By 10:33 a.m. Tuesday morning the percentage of homes without power was still above 65 percent, according to PSNH. An additional 100 crews were pressed into service by PSNH on Tuesday morning.

Wolfeboro Fire-Rescue reported that at 12:15 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28, its rescue unit and Stewarts Ambulance were dispatched to 118 Oakwood Road in Wolfeboro to aid two persons caught under a fallen tree. At 12:21 p.m. on arrival rescuers found two men, one about 30 and the other about 60, trapped under tree debris.

"Apparently, these individuals were in the process of removing a fallen tree from Oakwood Road," the Fire-Rescue report reads, "and while in the process a second tree, about a 10-inch diameter birch tree, fell on top of them, inflicting serious injury. Both individuals were transported to Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro and later transferred to other hospitals." The 30-year-old subsequently died of his injuries. Names of neither individual had been released as of press time.

Wolfeboro Municipal Electric Director of Operations Barry Muccio reported that there were approximately 400 customers without power at the peak of the storm on Sunday. Beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday line crews, staff and contract tree-clearing personnel began working 24 hours, with crew members on 16 hours and off eight hours. By 9 p.m. Monday, Muccio reported, there were "approximately 75 customers without power, including several of our island customers (Melody and Keniston on Winnipesaukee and Triggs Island on Wentworth).

"I would anticipate that we will have all power restored to mainland customers by Wednesday morning [Aug. 31]. The work of cleaning up trees within the wires is expected to continue through much of next week. This was a widespread storm that created several problems throughout our system, but at no time did we lose any of our four main feeder circuits. The majority of our customers experienced no more than a few blinks from our reclosing breakers, so we were extremely fortunate. I would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding during this event, and the dedication of all our personnel in the restoration efforts."

Public Works Director Dave Ford reported, "The full highway crew was called in Sunday morning and stayed until about 6:30 p.m. They worked closely with the Municipal Electric Department and Public Safety and Dispatch in responding to downed trees and flooded culverts, keeping roads open. We were lucky in that there was no significant road damage." Ford added that he expected higway operations to be back to normal by Tuesday.

"The water/sewer crew was also called in and kept a close eye on sewage pump stations and prevented any sewer overflow issues," he wrote. The Crescent Lake Dam was opened full on Friday in anticipation of rain. There were no problems reported at the dam, even though the levels of Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake did rise.

Town Manager Dave Owen thought the town did pretty well overall, despite receiving four to five inches of rain and wind damage. He said the town brush dump will be open all week this week to receive residents' storm debris. "Regular disposal charges will apply," he added.

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