Gov. Deval Patrick met with cabinet members and utility company representatives to discuss power restoration efforts at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency headquarters Monday morning.
"We were hit with, in some cases, up to 30 inches of heavy wet snow," Patrick said. "It's a particular challenge because not only did it come too soon, but there are leaves on the trees causing many limbs to come down."
Tewksbury only saw a few inches of snow, but the aftermath has been dismal for the thousands in town without power. National Grid has estimated that many residents in Tewksbury may be without power until Thursday night.
Patrick called for patience while power is restored -- a very gradual process he said could take several days.
"Some 500,000 customers are without power at this point, down from about 700,000 at the peak yesterday -- a 23 percent reduction overnight, which is good," Patrick said. "It’s going be a house-by-house, block-by-block kind of response."
Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard Sullivan concurred and pointed out that even though there are still more than 519,000 homes without power, additional crews have been added to tackle the power outages as quickly as possible.
"We expect that number will be cut in half by the end of the day today," Sullivan said. "There are 1,500 crews working on the ground in Massachusetts today."
And that that number is expected to grow as more crews come in from as far away as Michigan and Canada, Sullivan added. But he also reiterated that for some, it might be a while before power is restored.
"It is a slow process, as many of these connections are at the street level and home level, so we are still looking at a multiple day event, and it may be Friday before some people get power restored," Sullivan said.
Patrick also noted that the power outages have impacted the MBTA as well. On Monday, 23 trains were delayed.
Patrick addressed the notion of putting power lines underground, something that has been called for by many people and that is already being done in newer home developments, but pointed out the price tag as an obstacle.
"I love the idea," Patrick said. "But apparently it's a $1 trillion project to put lines underground across the commonwealth."
Patrick also urged residents to practice extreme caution, with so many power lines down across the state. A woman in Springfield has died from electrocution from a downed power line.
"First of all, treat every downed wire as a live wire," Patrick said.
Another person in Massachusetts has died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, and the governor urged residents to not heat homes with gas stoves.
While many have been comparing the storm to Hurricane Irene, Patrick said it is more comparable to the ice storm of 2008, because that storm saw so many downed power lines and power outages in the cold.
Patrick urged people to find shelters in their communities if they are without heat and said that as of now, about 1,300 people are in shelters across the state.