The October Nor'easter that slammed into Massachusetts Tuesday night and Wednesday left a half million residents without power as gale force winds knocked down trees and power lines. Governor Charlie Baker said it will take days to restore power.

"We can't thank everybody enough for their hard work on this, but there's significant work left to be done," Baker said. "The most significant impact we're seeing at this point obviously relates to the power outages."

Baker delivered his remarks in Scituate, one of the communities hardest hit by the storm. Joe Nolan, President and CEO of Eversource, also spoke and said more than 1,500 resources are dedicated to the restoration effort. "We've got crews from Canada and crews that have joined us from New Hampshire as well as Connecticut," he said.

The South Shore, Cape Ann, Cape Cod and the Islands bore the brunt of the storm. The National Weather Service reported wind gusts in excess of 90 miles an hour on the Outer Cape. Surprisingly, damage to the shore line was minimal.

Storm damage power outage
A truck drives around downed powerlines on the street in a South Shore community after a Nor'easter on Oct. 27, 2021.
Erin LaPaglia GBH News

Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken said she was worried about the high tide. "During high tide in a Nor'easter, we're usually underwater but you know what? There was no flooding," she said.

Quincy Mayor Tom Koch had a similar report: "We always plan for the worst and hope for the best. Thankfully, we didn't have the flooding, If we had crazy tide cycles with this it would have really been devastating."

Koch said by Wednesday afternoon he had received more than 350 calls of trees down and, in one case, the wind tore off the roof of an apartment building. He says the tenants were moved for the night and fortunately no one was hurt.

On Cape Cod, no electricity was one problem for residents. Finding gasoline was another. Jim Nash lives in West Dennis and, after losing power, tried to fill his car for a ride to a local restaurant but encountered long lines at the pump. "We stopped at a couple of places and they were already out. Eventually we drove over to Yarmouth and got gas there," he said.

Baker was asked about gas availability on the Cape during the briefing, and said that he had not heard any concerns that the issue was going to be a significant one for any significant period of time.

Baker also had words of caution on the cleanup. "Just assume every wire is a live wire and, if you need to go out, be careful and keep your eyes open for the crews," he said. "There are going to be a ton of crews out there. We need to make sure we give them enough room to do the work they need to do to clean the trees out and clean the roads up so we can then get people into the bucket trucks and get everybody's power back as quickly as possible."

Gloucester Mayor Romeo Theken also had some advice for people who want to watch the surf. "Please, stay in the house," she said. "I know it's wonderful to see, but please, stay off the surfboard."

Marilyn Schairer contributed reporting.