W. SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - We're not far away from the one year anniversary of "the storm that kept the lights off," but it's still fresh in many people's memories.
"We could hear the trees falling and we were just waiting for one of them to fall on the house. Fortunately they didn't. And the next morning when you'd see all these trees down and the branches off of these pine trees. It was bad," said Joyce Guistina from West Springfield.
"People were really suffering, especially the small children with the bathroom facilities and everything, you know?" said Dinker Desar of Agawam.
"It was the trees that caused the damage and at the peak of the October snowstorm WMECO reported over 140-thousand customers' without power. With Agawam, Springfield and Longmeadow being some of the hardest hit areas.
Trees with leaves just couldn't take the weight of the heavy, wet snow, falling and bringing down power lines.
Some people had no power for more than one week!
Utilities took some heat about their response and WMECO has made some new investments in power outage prevention.
"We've spent another million and a half on what we call hazard tree removal. Get down some of the big, older, more decrepit trees that could fall from outside of what we normally trim and actually take down the wires and poles," said Peter Clarke, President and C.O.O. of Western Massachusetts Electric Company.
WMECO has also improved communication methods with towns and replaced older wires with heavier wire.
There have been other winter storms in New England history, but for many people the October storm of 2011 beats them all.
"There was no comparison as far as I'm concerned. I was just, without the power I just felt helpless," said Francis Phelan of West Springfield.
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