Wind Storm Knocks Out Power on Campus


crews responded to a power outage in fitchburg, ma and the surrounding areas. the outage, affecting ~27,000 customers, was due to a fallen tree caused by the strong winds in our area. SOURCE: Unitil/Twitter

-Tim Foley

On Friday March 26th, around 27,000 Unitil customers in Northern Worcester County lost power. The area had been under a wind advisory since early in the morning, with wind gusts up to 49 mph according to the National Weather Service. 

The winds ended up blowing over a tree, which ultimately led to the power going out around 7:20. The university notified the student body that “the campus and city is experiencing a power outage of unknown duration” via texts, emails and phone calls at 7:41. 

“I was a little frightened,” said alumni Dakota Lyons, who was out with friend and fellow alumni Nick St. Jacques, both of whom decided to go on a walk as a result of the outage. The power went out while Lyons was driving home in his car from work. “The lights were flickering when I was leaving work, and when I finally left that’s when everything blacked out. Not often do you see an entire intersection completely dark. It was a little wacky for sure.”

Some police officers were directing traffic by the lights at the CVS at the end of north street, but not each intersection was manned. Junior Emma Jaquces reported difficulties trying to navigate intersections as she looked to make her way out of the city during the outage Friday night.

As students like Jacques were seen packing their cars and leaving campus soon after power went out. Some students stayed behind and took advantage of the opportunity to unplug, like Junior Ben Golash.

“I was playing Call of Duty, then when the power went out I went out to longboard,” said Golash. 

Other students were worried about the negative impacts which would come as a result of the blackout, like sophomore Nana Kumah.

“My phone wasn’t really working.” Wifi and cell connection dropped for some phone users, impairing communication to necessary parties. 

Junior Jillian Laabs was planning on going grocery shopping the next day, but acknowledged complications which could arise if the outage were to have lasted into the following day. 

“We were planning on going grocery shopping, but we can’t really open the fridge.” 

Power came back on around 8:20 p.m., an hour after it went out. This was accompanied by notifications from the university that the power had returned.