A powerful weather system is pummeling New England with rain and snow, leaving tens of thousands of New Englanders without power.

It’s something that could happen more frequently thanks to climate change, unless the region takes serious steps to prepare.

More than 18,000 people across Massachusetts — including more than half of the towns of Warwick, Ashby, Hubbardston, and New Salem — were experiencing outages Monday afternoon, according to the state’s Emergency Management Agency. Tens of thousands of customers are also experiencing outages in New Hampshire and Maine.

The disruptions come just one month after some 170,000 customers in New England lost power on Christmas Eve during a winter storm.

During storms, low temperatures can push up demand for fuel as people stay in their homes, while putting stress on power plants. But the even bigger problem is that they can cause disruptions at the neighborhood level, said Amy Boyd, vice president of climate and clean energy policy at the environmental nonprofit Acadia Center.

“Power interruptions are overwhelmingly caused by local disruptions like tree branches, ice, wind, or animals knocking out local distribution power lines,” she said.