The train was headed for Haverhill but the conductor hit the brakes near the Valley Forum ice rink. Approximately 100 riders were quickly evacuated from the train and boarded onto a bus.
Near the South Common, a large tree was uprooted and fell onto Market and Osgood streets. As it fell, the tree tugged down power lines but did not appear to snap them. Large limbs also fell downtown near the Fenton Judicial Center off Canal Street. A public works crew cut them up late yesterday afternoon and loaded them into a large wood mulching truck.
On Dracut Street, a minivan driver saw a 20-foot tree limb shatter his windshield and block the road.
Wind gusts reached “extremely dangerous” speeds in Methuen around 3 p.m. yesterday, toppling trees, branches, power lines and utility poles across the city and knocking out power to more than 7,000 customers.
Mayor Stephen Zanni declared a state of emergency in the afternoon as Hurricane Sandy approached. Shortly after, Methuen Public Works Director Raymond DiFiore urged residents to stay off the roads.
A downed tree on Camden Street caused the first significant outage. But as the afternoon progressed, reports of falling trees and wires picked up rapidly.
Confusion arose between Zanni and the police department early in the evening with conflicting reports about a emergency shelter opening at Comprehensive Grammar School on Howe Street. The mayor first announced the shelter would open for residents without power. The police department promptly called the report “erroneous” on its Facebook page. The mayor said later that the shelter would be opened on an as-needed basis.
A large tree fell across Route 125 near the former Lucent plant at around 2:30 p.m. yesterday. Traffic was blocked from the Haverhill city line to the Stevens Estate for several hours, according to police Lt. Charles Gray.