A storm packing blustery winds and driving rain knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses in the Northeast on Thursday before giving way to sunny skies and record high temperatures _ all in the same morning.
Utility officials reported sporadic power outages from Maine to New Jersey after wind knocked down trees and power lines early Thursday. Winds reached up to 49 mph in Brunswick, Maine, while the Isle of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire recorded a 61 mph gust. In New Jersey, wind speeds topped out at 45 mph.
But the rain and wind that battered the region early Thursday gave way to sunny skies and unseasonably high temperatures by mid-morning.
In Boston, the temperature hit 69 degrees, breaking the old record of 65 set in 1932. In Portland, the temperature climbed to 68 degrees _ crushing the old high of 55 for the date. Providence, R.I., had a record high of 66, and Concord, N.H., set a record at 65.
"It's not right. It's December. It's supposed to be snowing," said Jennifer Sporzynski, who sat on a park bench Thursday in Portland's Old Port. "I like warm weather _ but not in December."
But for others, the balmy weather was just fine.
In Boston, joggers ran downtown in shorts and T-shirts, while walkers strolled through the city with jackets tied around their waists.
David Montero, 36, exited his Downtown Crossing apartment Thursday morning wearing a heavy coat to walk his 2-year-old Boston Terrier named Bolt.
"I personally would take this all week, if we could have it," Montero said as he watched Bolt play with two other dogs in the Boston Common.
Still, Montero said he couldn't get over the sight of seeing people in the grassy park exercising in shorts. "Totally bizarro," he said.
For many, the day started with lashing rain. Central Maine Power, the state's largest electric utility, reported 6,700 customers in the dark at the storm's peak. In New Jersey, more than 10,000 homes and businesses lost electricity. Other northeastern states, including New Hampshire, also suffered power outages.
High winds disrupted some ferry services from Cape Cod to the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Two scheduled passenger ferries and a freight ferry from Hyannis to Nantucket were canceled Thursday morning, while ferries from Woods Hole to Martha's Vineyard were running on a trip-by-trip basis, the Steamship Authority reported.
Heavy waves pounded the shore, causing beach erosion up and down the Atlantic coast. Coastal flooding closed several roads in New Hampshire at high tide late Thursday morning.
Jim Brown from the National Weather Service says the cooldown will be nearly as swift as the arrival of the record warmth. Seasonably cooler weather is expected by the weekend in the Northeast.
Associated Press writers Russell Contreras and Bob Salsberg in Boston and Shawn Marsh in Trenton, N.J., contributed to this report.