WATERBURY, Vt. (AP) — Vermont escaped the passage of Superstorm Sandy without serious damage, and an obviously relieved Gov. Peter Shumlin offered Tuesday to help neighboring states that came to the state’s aid after last year’s Tropical Storm Irene.
Shumlin said he had offered assistance to New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, and he planned to send two Vermont National Guard helicopters to New Jersey.
‘‘We’re obviously extremely sympathetic, and empathetic, having survived Irene and other storms to our neighbors to the south and we are going to be offering them all the help that they deserve and need as they go through some very difficult days ahead,’’ Shumlin said.
Sandy left millions of people from Maine to the Carolinas without power. It killed at least 35, seriously damaged New York City’s subway system, and did what New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie described as ‘‘incalculable damage’’ to his state’s Atlantic Ocean shoreline.
By early afternoon Tuesday, Vermont electric utilities were reporting just under 8,800 customers without power. During the course of the storm, about 36,000 Vermont customers lost power, but utility crews began restoring service as soon as it started to go out.
The state’s dominant utility, Green Mountain Power, said that as soon as its crews, with help from 250 line and tree crews from other states and Canada, have their customers reconnected, the outside crews would be released.
‘‘We expect to be able to release some crews tomorrow morning,’ GMP spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure said Tuesday. ‘‘We are already discussing how to make some of our own crews available once we are done.’’
There was no significant road and highway damage in Vermont. Transportation Secretary Brian Searles said there were a handful of locations where highways were temporarily blocked by falling trees or power lines, but those locations were quickly repaired.
National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Whittier said the reason Vermont wasn’t hit as hard as expected was because the Sandy storm system accelerated as it approached New Jersey on Monday afternoon. The extra speed of the storm skewed the forecasts that had predicted wind gusts as high as 80 mph in parts of the state and up to 100 mph at the top of Mount Mansfield.
Instead, the peak wind reported atop Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s tallest peak, was 72 mph. At lower elevations, the peak wind gust reported was 61 mph in Lyndon Center.
Vermont’s Emergency Operations Center began 24 hour operations on Monday morning. It’s now expected to close about 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Vermont is still recovering from Irene, which killed six people, destroyed or damaged hundreds of miles of roads and bridges and left hundreds homeless. In the aftermath of the storm, states from throughout the region sent assistance, including road crews and other assistance to help Vermont begin the rebuilding process.