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High Winds Knock Out Power in Northeast

January 18, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) _ Wind gusting up to 68 mph wreaked havoc for commuters across the Northeast on Wednesday, blowing debris across railroad tracks, overturning tractor-trailers and making for choppy ferry rides.

More than 275,000 homes and businesses across the region lost power, and several airports reported morning delays of an hour or more.

The wind was blamed for at least one death, a 52-year-old man killed just north of New York City when a tree fell on his car, according to Sound Shore Hospital spokesman Sal Schiliro in New Rochelle.

Two tractor-trailers overturned during the morning commute, one tying up traffic at the George Washington Bridge that links New Jersey and New York City and the other shutting down the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York.

On the water, a ferry running from New Jersey to Manhattan ``took a bounce between waves, and so the second wave washed over the bow,″ New York Waterway spokesman Pat Smith said. Smith there were no reports of injuries.

A fallen tree blocked commuter train traffic between Connecticut to New York’s Grand Central Terminal. The wind was gusting to 68 mph along the lines early Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

``I guess I’ll just wait _ it’s the only thing we can really do,″ said commuter Joe Farrugio, who had moved into his in-laws’ home in Pelham after strong wind knocked out power to his own home last weekend. ``After all this, I’ll probably not even go in.″

The storm knocked out power to homes and businesses in several states: at least 94,000 in Connecticut, 70,000 in Massachusetts, 50,000 in New Jersey, 35,000 in the Philadelphia area, 18,000 in New York, and 3,700 in Rhode Island. In New Hampshire, a double whammy of freezing rain and high wind delayed school openings and left about 6,600 customers without power.

In Maryland, a storm-caused power-outage forced NASA to scrub its launch Wednesday of an unmanned spacecraft on a voyage to Pluto _ the power went out at the Maryland lab that is managing operations for the mission. NASA has until mid-February to launch the craft.

Flights were also delayed at airports across the region. Morning departures were delayed an average of one hour and 39 minutes at Newark International Airport and 56 minutes at New York’s La Guardia Airport, where winds were gusting at 59 mph, the Port Authority said.

Wind gusts reached 40 mph at Boston’s Logan International Airport Wednesday, said Massport spokesman Phil Orlandella, causing average flight delays of more than an hour.

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