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"Bomb cyclone" sets record as strongest October storm ever in Boston area
A powerful autumn storm plunged hundreds of thousands of people into the dark, toppled trees, canceled schools and delayed trains Thursday in the Northeast. The nor'easter brought high winds and rain to the region on Wednesday and Thursday. In Massachusetts, wind gusts reached as high as 90 mph on Cape Cod, and about 200,000 residents lost power early Thursday.
The storm left nearly 200,000 people without power in Maine, too. The Maine Emergency Management Agency partially activated the state's emergency operations center. Heavy rain combined with 60 mph wind gusts knocked down trees and power lines, and CBS affiliate WGME-TV reports that the Coast Guard received multiple reports of adrift or sunken boats. The agency urged residents to look for hazards on Thursday because many roads were unsafe.
A high wind warning and flood warning remain in effect for parts of New England.
The nor'easter formed off New Jersey, strengthening as it traveled north. New York authorities said a wind-driven fire destroyed three houses in the Fire Island hamlet of Ocean Bay Park early Thursday. No injuries were reported.
Train delays, power outages and school cancellations were reported throughout the region Thursday morning. Leaves and debris that littered roads created a slippery traffic hazard for commuters. In Massachusetts, crews rushed to remove fallen tree branches from train tracks.
CBS News weather contributor Jeff Berardelli reported that the storm had easily surpassed the threshold of bombogenesis, becoming a "bomb cyclone," which is generally defined by a pressure drop of 24 millibars within 24 hours.
CBS Boston reports that the storm's central pressure plummeted 30 millibars in only 15 hours from late Wednesday morning to early Thursday morning — a new record for lowest pressure during October in the area.
Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Massachusetts, forecast that the storm would continue traveling north and northeast, across the Maine coast through Thursday, reaching north of Nova Scotia by Friday morning.
In Portland, Maine, the sea level pressure was among the lowest ever recorded in October and most likely broke a record, said William Watson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Maine.
Most areas saw rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches, though some areas of southern New England got about 4 inches.
In New Hampshire, about 100 school districts reported closings and delays Thursday morning due to no electricity or downed trees and power lines. A wind gust of 128 mph was reported on Mount Washington, the Northeast's highest peak, according to the National Weather Service.
Sustained winds on Thursday hampered efforts to restore power and clean up downed trees.