By Steven Fletcher Staff Writer
Gloucester Daily Times
---- — The lights had returned to most Cape Ann homes by Thursday night after a nor’easter whirled through the area overnight Wednesday and throughout much of the day yesterday.
But before it checked out, the storm hit Cape Ann with driving rain and sustained winds of nearly 35 miles per hour, and gusts that pushed 50 miles per hour or higher. It cut the power to 3,000 Cape Ann customers at its peak Thursday morning, knocking out 1,600 homes and businesses and other buildings in Gloucester, including the West Gloucester fire station, and killing electricity to another 1,400 in Essex.
National Grid had all but 380 of those customers back up by late Thursday afternoon. But the nor’easter — coming 10 days after Cape Ann’s brush with superstorm Sandy last week — kept Gloucester’s police, firefighters and Public Works crews busy with downed trees and sparking power lines.
“It’s been basically the same thing as last week, only less intense,” said Police Chief Leonard Campanello, noting the storm triggered somewhere between 50 and 100 storm-related calls over the last two days.
Police were responding to reports of downed trees and power lines as early as late Wednesday morning.
Winds also tore the sailboat Gingko off its mooring and ran it aground on the rocks of the causeway at Rocky Neck, while another boat broke free from its mooring in Magnolia Harbor.
Essex police and National Grid crews grappled with wires that were pulled down by a tree on Apple Street at Turtleback Road early Thursday morning. It only took power down on Turtleback Road, but police had to shut off a section of Western Avenue and Southern Avenue.
Rockport Police and public works crews dealt with several reports of downed branches yesterday.
Campanello said this storm didn’t last as long or cause anywhere near the kind of problems that Sandy did when it brushed Cape Ann. That storm brought more damaging winds, with gusts of up to 80 miles per hour, and persisted for nearly 36 hours.
Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Eric Smith, however, noted that the West Gloucester fire station also lost power during the storm, Smith said, and was running on generators for most of the day. He said the city’s public safety departments handled the storm well.
National Grid crews spent yesterday repairing lines in Essex and in Gloucester.
“Thankfully, we’ve been able to handle a lot of stuff relatively quickly,” said Charlotte McCormack, spokeswoman for the utility company.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.