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High winds down trees, power lines in southern New England

Carl Foster of South Boston checked the condition of a sail boat that was ripped off its moorings and pushed onto the rocks next to the South Boston Yacht Club.
Carl Foster of South Boston checked the condition of a sail boat that was ripped off its moorings and pushed onto the rocks next to the South Boston Yacht Club. (Globe Staff Photo / Matthew J. Lee)

Strong winds and downpours quickly made their way west to east across Southern New England Thursday bringing down trees and power lines and causing traffic delays.

Wind gusts as high as 59 mph at Blue Hill in Milton and 49 mph at the weather station at Logan Airport were reported but the winds generally averaged between 30 and 40 mph.

The National Weather Service said the nasty weather was a prelude to a cold front also crossing the area and it was expected by early Friday there would be readings in the 30s, which will be 40 more degrees lower than mid-70 temperatures in many places at mid-day, Thursday.

The NWS also said there was a possibility of frost in the Connecticut River Valley, Northwestern Massachusetts, and Southwestern New Hampshire between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. Friday.

As public works and power company crews moved into action clearing trees and large limbs and restoring power, the millions of Red Sox Nation watched the skies with hopes that the game at Fenway Park between the Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays would go on as scheduled. At 5 p.m. skies over Boston were starting to brighten and at 7:05pm, the game began on time.

Fallish but clear weather is on tap for Friday night when the Red Sox launch a three-game series with the New York Yankees at Fenway.

The weather service at mid-morning had issued a high wind warning for most of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Southern New Hampshire.

The concerning weather system at the time was moving towards the area from western and northern New York leaving damage and thousands without power in its wake.

Soon after noon the first reports started coming in concerning trees and power lines being brought down in Massachusetts.

In central and western Massachusetts Greenfield, Hadley, Leominster and Blackstone were among the communities NWS observers were reporting problems. In Leominster it was reported a tree had come down on a house on Pleasant Street and in West Brookfield it was reported a tree limb came down on an SUV, injuring the driver.

As the stormy weather moved into the Greater Boston area reports of trees and large limbs down came in from Milton, Salem, Newton, Walpole, Wrentham, Shrewsbury, Hingham, Cohasset, Danvers, Wayland, and Medford.

From Fall River at 12:55 p.m. came a report to the NWS at Taunton of large limbs coming down on cars at Durfee and Pine street causing damage to the vehicles.

Meanwhile, both Massachusetts Electric and NStar reported power outages. Massachusetts Electric problem areas included Dracut and Haverhill in the Merrimack Valley area.

Massachusetts Electric reported at one point Thursday afternoon some 20,000 customers had lost power.

Meanwhile, an NStar spokesman said at the height of the outages some 44,000 customers had lost power but just before 5 p.m. that number had been reduced to about 30,000.

NStar deployed crews from the southeastern part of Massachusetts to help with repairs in Boston as well as in communities in MetroWest and north of the city.

One of the worst traffic problems that developed during the afternoon was on Boylston street (Route 9) in Brookline near Hammond street.

A large tree came down bring down power lines and a transformer.

This resulted in not only long traffic backups because part of the road was closed down until the tree and wires could be removed, but also shutdown several businesses in the neighborhood because of power loss.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.)

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