EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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October 28, 2012

Storm plans in high gear

Officials preparing for effects as Sandy closes in


The National Weather Service in Taunton issued a high wind watch for the area and much of Southern New England from tomorrow morning through late tomorrow night.

Forecasters say the storm could result in widespread damaging winds and power outages across the region.

Gov. Deval Patrick yesterday declared a state of emergency for Massachusetts as Hurricane Sandy approached, threatening to combine with another storm from the west and cold air from Canada to bring heavy rains and damaging winds that could cause widespread power outages.

The governor said 200 National Guard members were on standby and the number would rise to at least 1,000 by the time the storm hits the state, possibly tonight.

It is expected to peak tomorrow and Tuesday, and could cause moderate to major coastal flooding and severe beach erosion.

After last year’s October storm, which dropped as much as a foot of snow, utility companies have spent the past year clearing out weakening and dead trees.

National Grid has “done an aggressive job of tree trimming over the last year,” company President Marcy Reed said.

“We learned a lot from last year’s storms,” she said. “We recognize the frustrations our customers had, and it’s our objective to earn their trust back and meet their expectations this time around.”

Alec O’Meara, media relations manager at Unitil, said his company doesn’t “prepare for storms in a period of months before a storm occurs. Preparing for a storm, good storm preparedness, is a year-long affair.”

Utility companies throughout the area have arranged for a combined thousands of line crews, tree-removal crews and more.

“We will be ready on Sunday night and into Monday and Tuesday when Sandy comes in,” Reed said.

Lawrence Police Chief John Romero was taking a “wait and see” attitude about the hurricane, but still making sure plans were in place.

“We’ve dealt with severe weather before, so we’ve been in touch with state police,” Romero said.

“Flooding is always an issue for us. State police has been very helpful in providng vehicles if we need them,” he said.




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