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Afternoon Storms Bring Power Problems

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Lightning (Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images)

Lightning (Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images)

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BERLIN, Conn. (AP and WTIC-AM) _ Connecticut Light & Power is reporting that more than 35,000 customers are without power due to severe storms that swept through the state.

The Northeast Utilities subsidiary says the number of customers without power on Wednesday afternoon represents about 2 percent of its 1.2 million customers.

Lightning struck near the intersection of two runways at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks at about 3 pm.  Both runways were closed, while crews went out to cleanup debris, and replace pavement that came loose.

The airport remained open, but commercial flights were unable to take off and land for more than an hour after the lightning strike.  Those aircraft were put into holding patterns.

A general aviation runway for smaller aircraft was unaffected by the lightning strike.

The hard-hit community of Sharon was one of the first towns effected, as the storms moved into the state.  First Selectman Bob Loucks says the wind brought down trees in his town.

“A lot of [the trees] you couldn’t see because it was so dark, and the wind was so fierce.  There were some real high wind bursts,” Loucks said.  “It was rattling them.”

Numerous roads were blocked in Sharon, and trees brought down power lines.

In Portland, power lines fell on a vehicle carrying four firefighters in a personal vehicle, trapping them inside.  They were freed, and they are safe.

After the bulk of the storms passed through, Cromwell had some of the highest concentrations of power outages in the state.

Town spokesperson Tom Roohr says the Northeastern part of Cromwell was especially hard-hit.

“The wind was rather heavy, the rain was going sideways,” Roohr said.

The wind and lightning toppled trees across town.

United Illuminating, the smaller of Connecticut’s two major utilities, reported only a few outages.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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