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Strong wind, power outages test area states

CONCORD, N.H. -- With temperatures headed toward zero and below and thousands still without power, shelters across New Hampshire were on standby yesterday because many homes without light also had no heat.

More than 40,000 businesses and homes were still without power yesterday morning due to Friday's wind storms. The bulk of them, about 35,000, were Public Service Company of New Hampshire customers.

Even with help from out-of-state crews, it could be late Monday before all lines were back up.

In Vermont, a storm that saw a recorded wind gust of 143 mph and uprooted trees and snapped power poles and lines will keep some Vermonters without electricity until today.

By late morning yesterday about 12,000 Vermont electric customers remained without power, the vast majority in the four southern counties in the service area of the Central Vermont Public Service Corp. Some of those customers might not get their power back until Monday, said CVPS spokesman Steve Costello. ''In the southern four counties, we have a lot of work ahead of us," said Costello.

At its peak Friday about 50,000 customers in Vermont were without power.

In Maine, despite an overnight press by repair crews, Central Maine Power Co. said more than 35,000 homes and businesses in its territory were still without power yesterday. Restoration work was expected to continue through the frigid weekend.

CMP said crews working through the night had restored power to more than 13,600 customers, bringing the outage count down from a high of nearly 49,000 at 10:30 p.m. on Friday.

The National Weather Service forecast called for the coldest air of the season to envelop Maine by this morning, with single-digit readings ranging plus or minus around zero.

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