Lights flicker on after windstorm sparks blackouts

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By Dakota Antelman, Marlborough/Hudson Editor

Teams of electrical workers and Marlborough police repair a power line after a gust of wind knocked a live wire onto Hosmer St. in Marlborough. (Photo/courtesy Sandy La Blanc Nowlan)

Marlborough – The lights are back on in Marlborough after a violent windstorm downed trees, sent live electrical wires sparking onto roadways and cut power to hundreds of families amid bitter cold temperatures, this week. 

Winds topped 50-miles-per hour across much of Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service, striking the region overnight and through the morning of March 2. 

As that wind still howled, city officials opened a warming center for families otherwise stuck in the cold. That program operated out of the city’s Senior Center and remained available through 4pm, March 2. 

By 4:30pm that day, as crews restored power to a majority of local homes, Marlborough Mayoral Secretary Michelle O’Brien indicated that the city was not planning to reopen that warming center, March 3. 

“The power is back on,” she then confirmed in a separate conversation, March 3.

Area emergency management experts are no stranger to windstorms and winter weather. 

This storm, however, hit amid COVID-19, which has shuttered many of the public places where people might ordinarily seek refuge from suddenly cold and dark homes. 

Partially in light of that fact, some did temporarily relocate to Marlborough’s Senior Center warming shelter. Others, meanwhile, remained home watching dangerous conditions develop outside.

A downed power line on the corner of Hosmer and Causeway St. in Marlborough sparks and shoots smoke into the air during a windstorm, March 2. (Photo/courtesy Sandy La Blanc Nowlan)

Sandy La Blanc Nowlan, in particular, snapped harrowing images of a power line sparking and smoking after falling on the intersection of Hosmer St. and Causeway St. near her home.

That live wire caught fire and left a charred scorch on the pavement visible in photos of the scene.

“From what I could see from my house, [there were] three telephone poles bent and a huge tree across Hosmer [St.] just past the corner of Causeway [St.],” Nowlan told the Community Advocate, March 3. 

Even with that line dropping feet from her house, though, Nowlan only lost power for roughly a half-an-hour during the storm. She says she feels lucky.

Her neighbors, after all, were in the dark for roughly 11 hours between 9:30am and 8:30pm. 

“Not fun!” Nowlan said.

A graphic by the National Weather service shows peak wind gusts measured across Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island during this week’s storm. (Photo via NWS)