For the third time in under a week, a winter storm is expected to bring heavy snow to North Central Massachusetts.
According to the National Weather Service forecast, 1-2 inches of snow was forecasted for Wednesday afternoon. An additional 2-4 inches were expected Wednesday night, with wind gusts as high as 40 mph. Most of the snow was expected before 10 p.m., with a mix of rain and snow between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until 1 a.m. Thursday.
In addition to snow, the NWS forecasted the region can see between 1-2 inches of rain through 1 p.m. Thursday.
With another winter storm on the horizon, natural gas and electricity provider Unitil said it was monitoring the situation. The company acknowledged the conditions could cause further power outages, as had been the case in the aftermath of Monday’s storm.
“Our crews have been working tirelessly to get the lights back on for all of our customers since Monday, but unfortunately we’ve got another storm on our doorstep,” Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara said. “While warmer temperatures and some sunshine yesterday helped melt some snow from trees in parts of the region, the combination of more heavy snow and gusty winds has the potential to damage trees and powerlines, which could result in additional outages.”
As of 6:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Unitil said a majority of its customers had seen their power restored. However, the company said 173 customers in Massachusetts still remained without power.
Twelve hours later, the number of Unitil customers in Massachusetts had dropped to 25. Data at 6:45 p.m. showed nine customers in Ashby, three in Fitchburg, 11 in Lunenburg and two in Townsend remained without power. The company estimated service would be restored by 1 a.m. Thursday for Ashby, Fitchburg and Townsend. For Lunenburg customers, the company estimated service would be restored by 6 a.m. Thursday.
On Tuesday, Unitil said it had opened its System Emergency Operations Center to coordinate response efforts, while it worked to restore electricity. Additionally, the company said crews from Canada were aiding in restoration efforts, which continued into Wednesday.
Restoration efforts also continued on Wednesday for National Grid. Data at 6:45 p.m. showed two customers in Pepperell and two customers in Westminster remained without power. Both communities were expected to have power restored by 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday night.
Like Unitil, National Grid said it had taken steps to prepare for the Wednesday night storm. According to a statement on the company’s website, over 300 field-based crews and 1,545 personnel were in place for the emergency response. These workers include overhead line, forestry, contractors, underground, damage assessment, wires down, transmission and substation workers.
“National Grid has been monitoring the forecasts closely on the back of our restoration efforts for the storm earlier this week and we have crews and personnel in place across Massachusetts ready to respond as quickly and safely as we can for whatever comes next,” said Tanya Moniz-Witten, vice president of New England electric operations.