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Weather service assessing storm damage in NY, Connecticut

August 28, 2020 GMT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — National Weather Service teams were assessing damage in Connecticut and upstate New York on Friday to see if tornadoes touched down during powerful storms that caused power outages for tens of thousands of customers.

The teams were visiting New Haven County in Connecticut and Orange County in New York, where Thursday afternoon’s storms knocked down scores of trees and utility wires. Hundreds of crews were repairing the damage.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and other government officials also toured storm damage in North Haven and Branford on Friday morning. Lamont declared a state of emergency and sent about 100 National Guard troops to help with the cleanup.

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More than 50,000 homes and businesses in the state lost power, including most of Branford. More than 25,000 customers remained without electricity Friday afternoon.

North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda said a tornado appeared to have ripped through the community.

“There are trees all over, fallen, power lines down,” he said during a news conference Friday. “Last night we had 56 roads that were impassable.”

The storms came three weeks after Tropical Storm Isaias caused widespread damage and power outages. The state’s two main electricity distributors, Eversource and United Illuminating, had been criticized by customers and government officials for taking more than a week to restore all the outages in the wake of Isaias, and both are now under investigation by state regulators. Both companies have defended their responses.

“Here we go again,” the Democrat governor said. “Yet again, we were hit really hard and where we were hit, it was incredibly intense.”

Another Weather Service team was assessing similar damage in Orange County, New York, particularly in the village of Montgomery, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of New York City. Several hundred homes and businesses lost power there. Officials were distributing dry ice to residents to help keep refrigerated foods cold.

Steven Neuhaus, the county executive, said it appeared a tornado touched down. Montgomery Mayor L. Stephen Brescia declared a state of emergency and ordered all residents to shelter in place until 6 a.m. Friday.

The storms barreled through eastern New York state and western and southern Connecticut, bringing lightning strikes, hail and some wind gusts hitting 70 mph (113 kph), according to the weather service. There were no reports of serious injuries.

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Associated Press writers Susan Haigh and Pat Eaton-Robb contributed to this report.