• Strong winds create problems across Mass.; 16,000 without power


    BOSTON (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – Howling high winds and whipping rain are causing power outages across Massachusetts.

    The state's major utilities are reporting a combined 16,000 customers without power just after noon Thursday, down from 38,000 earlier in the day.

    The state experienced high winds and heavy rain in the early morning hours that toppled trees and utility poles, and ripped the roofs off schools in Raynham and Fall River before the start of the school day. No injuries were reported.

    Winds were gusting higher than 50 miles per hour in some places, with the Blue Hills Observatory outside Boston reporting an 81 mph gust at 6:33 a.m.

    In Scituate, the winds caused a boat to break free from its mooring and catch fire. It then floated to the edge of the marsh while still on fire.

    A downed tree limb blocked Route 16 in Wellesley.

    In Georgia, the storms that ripped through the Southeast have claimed at least two lives. They were killed by crashing trees in Georgia and Tennessee.

    Wednesday's tornadoes and dangerous winds destroyed homes, flipped cars and made heavy items like sheets of metal and bathtubs lawn ornaments. Residents in Georgia say no traces remain of roadside produce stands that are a common sight on back roads.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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