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Crews scramble to restore power to Northeast after storm

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    Lights from automobile traffic leave trails on a street in Freeport, Maine, where most outlet shopping stores are closed due to a severe storm knocked out electricity, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. The severe storm packing hurricane-force wind gusts and soaking rain swept through the Northeast early Monday, knocking out power for nearly 1.5 million homes and businesses and forcing hundreds of schools to close in New England. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

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    A motorist drives under downed pine trees that are resting on power lines in Freeport, Maine, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. A strong wind storm has caused widespread power outages. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

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    Pat Durham cuts pine tree that fell on Corey and Rachel Graham's land in Freeport, Maine, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. The storm toppled more than 20 pine trees on the lot but caused only minor damage to their property. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

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    A toppled tree covers cars for sale at Demo's Auto Sales after an overnight storm Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in Warwick. R.I. Falling trees knocked down power lines across the region, and some utility companies warned customers that power could be out for a few days. (AP Photo/Jennifer McDermott)

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    Jack Durant, owner of the sailboat Lionheart, carries a bag with valuables he removed from his sailboat after it washed up on shore on Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, after unexpected overnight high winds sent sailboats crashing onto Padanaram beach in Dartmouth, Mass. (Peter Pereira/Standard Times via AP)

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    Peter Raymond, owner, gets some help from Robert Freeman in retrieving items from his sailboat Ama Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, after unexpected overnight high winds sent sailboats crashing onto Padanaram beach in Dartmouth, Mass. (Peter Pereira/Standard Times via AP)

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    A large tree is down on top of a car on Mellen Street, in Portland, Maine, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, after early morning storm with high winds. Central Maine Power, the state's largest utility, said its 391,000 outages surpasses its peak of 345,000 homes and businesses without power during the ice storm of 1998. (Michele McDonald/Portland Press Herald via AP)

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    Broken trees frame a Corey and Rachel Graham's home and yurt following wind storm in Freeport, Maine, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. The couple is living in the yurt while building a home. The storm toppled more than 20 pine trees on their lot but caused only minor damage to their property. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

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    A motorist turns around after finding downed trees blocking Flying Point Road during a storm in Freeport, Maine, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. A strong wind storm has caused widespread power outages. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

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    A toppled tree leans onto a power line after an overnight storm Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in Brookline, Mass. Hundreds of thousands of customers have been left without power after a storm brought high winds and heavy rains to southern New England. (AP Photo/Alanna Durkin Richer)

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    Rachel Graham, with husband Corey Graham and daughter Priya, describes a terrifying night that they spent in a yurt during a severe wind storm in Freeport, Maine, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017. The couple is living in the yurt while building a home. The storm toppled more than 20 pine trees on their lot but caused only minor damage to their property. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Published October 31. 2017 08:29AM

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A severe storm that pounded the Northeast with hurricane-force wind gusts and torrential rain has left utility crews scrambling to restore power and forced communities to postpone Halloween festivities due to damage.

The storm knocked out power to nearly 1.5 million homes and business at its peak Monday across the region. More than 1 million customers remained in the dark early Tuesday.
A house was swept away by raging waters in New Hampshire, sailboats crashed onto a beach in Massachusetts and an empty scaffolding truck was blown off of a bridge that's under construction between Maine and New Hampshire.
Thousands of trees were toppled, some falling onto houses and cars.
"Trees were falling all around me. I could hear them crashing down," said John Carroll, spokesman for Central Maine Power, describing his commute to work Monday. "It was terrifying. It was wild."
Miraculously, no serious injuries were reported.
New England bore the brunt of the storm with winds gusting to 82 mph in Mashpee on Cape Cod in Massachusetts and topping out at 130 mph at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire.
Nearly 500,000 homes and businesses in Maine lost electricity, surpassing the peak number from an infamous 1998 ice storm. Officials said the storm left 450,000 customers in New Hampshire without power at its peak and produced wind gusts of 78 mph.
In Warren, New Hampshire, dramatic video captured a one-story house being swept away by a raging river before crashing into a bridge and breaking apart. No one was in the house at the time.
Some cities and towns in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut postponed trick-or-treating from Halloween night — Tuesday — to as late as Sunday evening due to safety concerns including darkened streets, downed power lines and debris.
Electricity was slowly being restored. But in Maine, the state's largest utility warned residents to be prepared to be without electricity for up to a week.
Rachel Graham, her husband and their 2-year-old daughter endured the storm in a yurt where they are staying while they build a house on their property in Freeport, Maine. They listened as 20 pine trees snapped and wind gusts lashed the yurt.
"You could feel everything and hear everything," Graham said. "It was a lot of crashes and bangs."
In the Boston suburb of Brookline, Helene Dunlap said her power went out after she heard a loud "kaboom" early Monday morning. She went outside hours later to find a large tree had fallen on a neighboring home.
"It really shook the whole place up," she said. "It was such a dark, stormy night that looking out the window we really couldn't determine what was going on."
A tree fell and sheared off the rear of a home in Methuen in northeastern Massachusetts, along the New Hampshire line. The tree crashed into Philip Cole's bedroom, where he would have been if he hadn't been called into work Sunday night.
"You opened the door to my bedroom, and there's no bedroom," Cole told WBZ-TV. "There's no floor, there's no anything really, just a closet and that was it."
The storm system also caused problems Sunday in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. On the shoreline in Bayonne, New Jersey, a barge washed up after apparently breaking free from its moorings.
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Associated Press writers Mark Pratt and Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston; Dave Collins in Hartford, Connecticut; Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire; Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine; Lisa Rathke in Montpelier, Vermont; and Shawn Marsh in Trenton, New Jersey, contributed to this report.

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