BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A windstorm that saw gusts hit 86 miles per hour on the top of Vermont’s tallest mountain and 70 mph and greater at lower elevations ushered in the first day of winter Friday, knocking out power to almost 32,000 electric customers from one end of the state to the other.
As of 6:30 p.m. about 16,000 customers remained without power across the state.
Vermont’s largest electric utility, Green Mountain Power, said it could be Christmas Eve or even later before power is restored to all its customers.
Most of the damages and power outages were reported on the west-facing slopes of the Green Mountains, although outages were reported in all 14 of the state’s counties.
‘‘Winds from this storm are much stronger than what we experienced with Superstorm Sandy and the damage is more intense,’’ said GMP spokesman Jeremy Baker.
In addition to trees and limbs on power lines, some utility poles were snapped. There were reports of barns being blown down and a tractor trailer truck being blown over on U.S. Route 7 in Addison County near Middlebury.
Earlier Friday the 86 mph gust was reported on Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s tallest peak. A gust of 73 mph hour was recorded in the Nashville section of Jericho just after noon.
Baker said GMP company line workers and contract crews were working on repairs. Still, it could be days before everyone has their power back.
‘‘Many roads are impassable, and since we are still getting new outages, we are still assessing the damage, but there is considerable and extensive damage in many areas, and there are hundreds of individual problems, many of them affecting just one or two customers,’’ Baker said.