Hundreds of Thousands Lose Power in Sunday Storm, says National Grid

A large Elm on the Andover vista was struck by lightening during Sunday’s storm.
R.Prem/The Phillipian

A large Elm on the Andover vista was struck by lightening during Sunday’s storm.

All buildings on Andover campus temporarily lost power between 11:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. Sunday night due to the severe storm sweeping over New England. The generator on campus was able to restore power to most buildings within minutes, except for George Washington Hall (GW), Graham Hall, the Andover Inn, and the Addison Gallery of Art, which were without power until Tuesday morning.

The torrent of rain over the weekend left a trail of toppled trees and powerlines throughout campus.

Fernando Alonso, Dean of Administration and Finance, wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “The Office of Physical Plant and Public Safety departments are critical components of the Academy’s response plan when dealing with storms. Members of these departments assess the situation to determine the extent of impact and are instrumental in beginning the work of restoring normal operations while ensuring members of the community are safe.”

He continued, “These plans are developed to address base needs such as shelter and food and are designed to prioritize the safety and well-being of community members. Additionally, the plans focus on, depending on the severity of the storm, supporting the needs of the academic and administrative programs.”

In addition to the brief loss of power, some buildings were also without Wi-Fi. Alonso explained that Wi-Fi could only be maintained for a short amount of time without a stable connection to the network. The most notable and lasting damage on campus was that to trees, specifically, one of the oaks on the Great Lawn. The Office of Physical Plant (OPP) had it cleared by midday Monday, leaving only a stump.

Spencer Davis ’18 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “OPP has done an excellent job cleaning up the campus. I was only able to realize the damage done by the storm with the cross country team on some of our runs. Today we passed many fallen trees and downed power lines.”

With several nearby roads impassable, day students received an email from Jennifer Elliott, Dean of Students and Residential Life, on Monday morning asking them to notify their Cluster Deans if they could not reach school safely. Most departments affected by the power outage relocated temporarily to the Phillips Academy Computer Center (PACC). Central Services remained open for students who
needed to pick up medications.

Pura Vargas, a mail clerk, said, “It was a little bit difficult [with the blackout]. Obviously we didn’t have work for a day, which put us behind. You know, we get the packages from the mail, and by the next day, we had to clear everything, which was hard to do, but we did it.”

Lindi Schroeder ’20, a day student, lost power, heating, and Wi-Fi at her house for two nights.

“It was okay, we used candles, and our neighbors were generous to let us hook [our] refrigerator up to their generator… I tried to get as much homework as I could get done at school… We did have a little bit of trouble getting to school one of the days because we usually take a few back roads to school and those were blocked, but the main roads were fine,” said Schroeder.

Stuart House also experienced two false fire alarms due to the power outage, one at 8:30 p.m. and another at 3:30 a.m. on Monday. Keith Robinson, Instructor in Chemistry and Biology and House Counselor in Stuart, said in an interview with The Phillipian, “It was pouring, it was blasting wind, and there were trees down all around the front, so we actually sent the kids down to 1924 House…Everything was a blur at that point, but it was probably ten to 15 minutes. The [kids] were pretty wet. I had a raincoat on, and I was still drenched. I’m sure they were tired [in the] morning, but there’s a little bit of an adventure to it.”