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iBerkshires Storm Center: Hurricane Sandy

Staff Reports
11:28PM / Sunday, October 28, 2012
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Ongoing list of cancellations here.


Wednesday, Oct. 31
9:45 a.m.: Two days after the storm, there are Berkshire residents waiting for power to be turned on.

Just over 1,200 National Grid customers are affected by scattered power outages. The largest outages are in New Marlborough  (221), Great Barrington  (213), Lenox (195) and Egremont (153).

In WMECo territy, some 293 customers are powerless in Becket, 248 in Otis, 208 in Sandisfield, 95 in Windsor and 86 in Dalton, with nearly every town having one or more affected. Some 331, or one percent, of Pittsfield WMECo customers are without power.


9:37 a.m.: Gov. Deval Patrick has authorized the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency to dispatch seven staff members to the New York State Emergency Operations Center in Albany to help coordinate New York's response and recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The request for assistance came through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

"Compared to other states like New York, Massachusetts was spared from the harshest impacts and devastation of Hurricane Sandy," said Patrick. "We have been fortunate and we want to assist other states in any way we can. These committed MEMA officials will strengthen New York's recovery efforts."

The seven MEMA staff members are Operations Manager Allen Phillips, All Hazards Planner Jennifer Carlson-Benoit, Disaster Recovery Accountant Joe Harrington, Hazard Mitigation Contract Specialist Kathryn Fatherley, Administrative Assistant Maggie McKenna, Local Coordinator Heather Tecce and Grants Management Specialist David Cruz. During this two-week deployment they will be assisting New York with Logistics and Resources.

"In recent years, MEMA has deployed staff to Alabama, Louisiana, Florida and Washington D.C. to assist in the aftermath of tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes," said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. "This is another example of how dedicated our staff is to helping those who are impacted by a disaster."

In addition to these personnel resources, Massachusetts has deployed a search and rescue team to Connecticut and New York and sent two Blackhawk helicopters to New Jersey.


Tuesday, Oct. 30

6:02 p.m.: Notice on after-school programs at North Adams Public Schools.

Because of the rescheduling of Trick or Treat from Wednesday the 31st to Friday, Nov. 2, the North Adams Public Schools have canceled after school programs for Friday. However, programs will be running tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 31, and Thursday, Nov. 1.


3:50 p.m.: Adams update: Effective 4:00 PM today, the Town of Adams will be lifting the state of emergency.

Thanks everyone for helping us out with these updates throughout the past few days. It is extremely helpful.


2:39 p.m.: North Adams update: Mayor Richard Alcombright, working with the Local Emergency Planning Committee, has officially announced that Halloween Trick or Treat will be on Friday, November 2.

The mayor stated, “As Grid crews continue to restore power to certain areas of the City and DPW crews continue with the cleanup, it has been decided that Friday would be the best day.  I am hoping that this change will be convenient for most and apologize for inconvenience to others.”

The mayor added that the State of Emergency will remain in effect until all power is restored and major debris is cleared from roadways. 


1: 00 p.m.: AccuWeather.com reports some of the most impressive statistics gathered from the terrible storm Sandy.

SANDY DEBUNKED:
Sandy is not the strongest hurricane north of Cape Hatteras.
A near-record low barometric pressure occurred with Sandy offshore Monday afternoon. The pressure bottomed at 27.76 inches. For a storm north of Cape Hatteras, N.C., Hurricane Gladys of 1977 holds the record at 27.73 inches. Gladys was a Category 4 hurricane that remained off the coast of the U.S.

HIGHEST RAINFALL TOTALS BY STATE:
Lorain, Ohio: 4.29"
Martinsburg, W.Va.: 4.06"
Jackson, Ky.: 1.64 (includes measurable snowfall)
Patuxent River, Md.: 8.23"
Oceania/Virginia Beach, Va.: 9.57"
Washington, D.C.: 4.68"
Wilmington, Del.: 4.68"
Ft. Ritchie, Pa.: 4.14"
Atlantic City, N.J.: 5.57"
Niagra Falls, N.Y.: 2.4"
East Milton, Mass.: 3.03"
Jaffrey, N.H.: 2.54"

HIGHEST WIND GUSTS BY STATE (>74 mph):
Eatons Neck, N.Y.: 94 mph
Montclair, N.J.: 88 mph
Westerly, R.I.: 86 mph
Madison, Conn.: 85 mph
Cuttyhunk, Mass.: 83 mph
Allentown, Pa.: 81 mph
Highland Beach, Md.: 79 mph
Chester Gap, Va.: 79 mph

HIGHEST SNOW AMOUNTS BY STATE:
Redhouse, Md.: 26.0"
Bowden, W.Va.: 24.0"
Champion, Pa.: 13.0"
Buladean, N.C.: 8.0"
Wise, Va.: 14.0"
Gatlinburg, Tenn.: 17.0"
Payne Gap, Ky.: 14.0"
Bellefontaine, Ohio: 3.5"

POWER OUTAGES: 7.4 million
By comparison, Hurricane Ike had 7.5 million over his entire path.

TOP WAVES:
39.67 feet (Buoy 41048)

TOP STORM SURGES:
The Battery, N.Y.: ~9 feet above normal
Kings Point, N.Y.: ~12.5 feet above normal
New Haven, Conn.: ~9 feet above normal

LOWEST PRESSURE (LAND):
945.5 mb (27.92" Hg) at Atlantic City, N.J.



11:36 p.m.: 
Route 43 in Williamstown was closed this morning as crews removed trees and damaged poles. Read more about the Williamstown cleanup here.


10:25 a.m.: Richmond Update: Now that the immediate dangers from Hurricane Sandy have passed, we have entered the clean up stage. Trees are down throughout town with a few roads impassable, however all the main roads are clear and open at this time. The Highway Department is out clearing the roadways and we anticipate the electric company crews will be on scene soon to address the trees that are on power lines. Power is out in sections of town, but hopefully that will be restored shortly. If you come across a downed tree contact Town Hall at 698-3882. If the tree is near downed power lines for your own safety DO NOT approach the tree!!

Given the destruction this storm has caused in Eastern Massachusetts, New York City, New Jersey and other places we were certainly lucky. Town officials ask that everyone be patient as we work to clean up from this storm.


8:30 a.m.: North Adams update: Mayor Richard Alcombright and the Local Emergency Planning Committee provide updates.

Power is currently out on all or portions of the following streets…. Rock St., Pebble St., Furnace St., Francis St. and a small area on and around Notch Rd.

National Grid has mobilized crews and they are being deployed to the areas impacted.

Please report power outages and downed tree limbs that are blocking streets to the North Adams Ambulance Service at 413-664-4933.

All City offices will open on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. to include City Hall, the Library and Mary Spitzer Center.

Businesses are asked that if they are opening, to open later in the morning to allow for street cleanup

Again as a reminder, do not park on City streets during the event and cleanup

State of Emergency will remain in effect until all power is restored and major debris is cleared from roadways.

For the most current local information, please go to The Transcript online, iBerkshires, WNAW, WUPE, Time Warner Channel 22, North Adams Police Facebook and the mayor’s Facebook.  Please know that the radio reporting updates at 21 and 51 minutes after the hour.  Additionally, school closure information will be delivered via the public schools alert system and emergency notifications will be provided by the City's Code Red Alert system.


Power update: WEMCo's map of outages in Berkshire County shortly before midnight.



 


A precipitously leaning light pole has closed the Lime Street bridge in Adams to through traffic. Below, a tree limb took down a utility pole at First and North Road in North Adams shortly after 6.
Monday, Oct. 29


9:30 p.m.: After a crane collapsed because of winds in New York City, we wondered about the crane being used at the Willilams College library project.

So we asked: Bruce Decoteau, the senior project manager with the Williams College Facilities Department, reports that the tower crane being used on the Stetson-Sawyer Library project is rated to withstand winds of up to 90 mph.

9:00 p.m.: North Adams update: Power is currently out on all or portions of the following streets: Reservoir Road, Rock Street, Pebble Street, Furnace Street and Francis Street.

Please report power outages and downed tree limbs that are blocking streets to the North Adams Ambulance Service at 413-664-4933.

Please know that if your power is out or goes out, National Grid will not be working on the lines through the duration of the high winds and until it is safe to do so. Be advised that power outages may not addressed until the storm subsides.

There is a large portion of a tree and power lines down on the lower end of Notch Road. However, the street is passable using alternate side streets.

All City offices will open on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., including City Hall, the Library and Mary Spitzer Center.

Businesses are asked that if they are opening, to open later in the morning to allow for street cleanup

Again as a reminder, do not park on City streets during the event and cleanup.

8:30 p.m.: Adams update: Public Safety and Emergency staff in Adams were still reporting no major storm related damage. There have been minor issues with power lines being impacted, most all were quickly reconciled, or impacted fewer than two residences.

The Emergency Shelter at the Adams Visitors Center will be closing at 10 p.m. In the instance that there is an overnight incident creating a need to reopen, the town will reopen the shelter.

Town offices, including the Town Hall, Library and COA will have a delayed opening of 11 on Tuesday morning. Residents should contact the COA at 413-743-8333 to see what services will still be available tomorrow, they may be limited.

Adams-Cheshire Schools are still closed tomorrow.

Residents should still contact the Adams Police Department at 413-743-1212 with any storm related questions or reports.


6:55 p.m.: North Adams: A chimney collapsed in on itself at a house on State Street. A large tree branch took down a utility pole in a yard on Notch Road, closing the road and forcing the occupants of the home to evacuate.

5:15 p.m. Adams Town Administrator Jonathan Butler released the following bullet points updating storm conditions.

•As of 5:00 this evening Public Safety and Emergency personnel are reporting no major storm damage. 

•A small tree limb down on Alger Street caused a temporary power outage. That power has since been restored. 

•Nowhere currently in Adams is reporting any power outages. 

•The emergency shelter at the Adams Visitor's Center is currently staffed and available. There is also van transportation available to the shelter. Residents in need of transport should contact the Police Department at 742-1212

•The town continues to encourage residents to stay inside and off the roads.



A little after 5 p.m., the only one taking advantage of the Adams emergency shelter was Colby, who didn't want to stay home alone. A TV crew had just left.
4:45 p.m.
Emergency management officials in Pittsfield met at 4 p.m. and reported that no major issues have been reported.

The mayor's office released the following bullet points from that meeting:

• All city emergency officials said that as of 4 p.m. Monday, no major issues have been reported as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

• Inmates for the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction filled over 800 sandbags today at the city yard on West Housatonic Street in case of flooding in low lying neighborhoods.

• City residents are urged to call 211 for storm-related information (for example, weather information) and 911 for storm-related emergencies (for example, a downed power line.)

• City officials continue monitoring dams, major culverts and catch basins in an effort to reduce the potential for flooding.

• The city’s auxiliary police officers are being deployed to reports of downed tree limbs or power lines where they maintain safety until the utility crews arrive. This tactic keeps the police department’s operational units free for other emergencies.

• According to Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski, conditions have not yet warranted the opening of a shelter. If conditions change, Reid Middle School will function as an emergency shelter and is equipped with cots and food.

• Mayor Dan Bianchi will reconvene the group at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

• Reports of downed wire by Taconic High has traffic backed up; trees down by Jimmy's Restaurant at West Housatonic, near 675 Tyler St., and Mountain Drive near Sackett Brook. 


4:00 p.m. The governor updated from MEMA headquarters at 3:35 on the response to the storm. There has been no signficant damage but the governor cautioned that we are "in the beginning" of the storm.

There is a current capacity for 10,000 at emergency shelters, although only about a dozen people are using them at present. Currently, about 110,000 are without power but those numbers are expected to climb as power outages continue and the storm increases in intensity.

Citizens were again cautioned not to use propane heaters and grills or charcoal grills indoors. State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan warned that carbon monoxide is the "silent killer." 

"Never, never bring propane or charcoal grills into the home," he said.

Patrick added that "We are holding our own" but there are more hours to go. "Weather conditions are deteriorating so that is making it harder to be as prompt in the response."


3:26 p.m.: National Grid is reporting 3,648 of the county's customers are without power. The hardest hit communities are Great Barrington, Monterey and New Marlboro.


2:54 p.m.: Town of Lenox will notify residents if it opens an emergency shelter at Lenox Memorial Middle & High School. The decision will be made by Emergency Management Director and Fire Chief Dan Clifford, in consultation with local, regional and state officials. A notice will be posted on the town website as well as notification through the sheriff's Reverse 911 system and the school's all-call system.

2:30 p.m.:
Continue receive reports of scattered power outages, mostly across Central and Southern Berkshire counties, caused by transformer failures and trees on wire.

1:45 p.m.:
Major power outages leaves New Ashford completely without power; 45 percent of Lanesborough without electricity, according to WMECo.

The Lanesborough Police Department was referring anyone seeking information on shelters to 211, the commonwealth's disaster information hotline. A call to that number elicited the following answer from an operator: "We have nothing listed yet from (Berkshire) County." However, the operator did say, "The list is being updated quite often."

Pownal, Vt., Selectman Michael George, the town's emergency management coordinator, said Monday afternoon that the town's shelter at the elementary school will be open "when needed," but there was no timetable yet for opening the doors. George said he had visited the school earlier Monday to make sure the facility was ready and would be discussing the situation with other town officials as the day progressed.


1 p.m. :
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. - Town Manager Peter Fohlin at a noon meeting told residents of the Spruces Mobile Home Park that the town's emergency shelter will be available after 3 p.m. if needed.

The shelter at Williamstown Elementary School is fully stocked and has an emergency generator in place, but the doors will not be opened unless town residents request access, Fohlin said.

"If anyone gets anxious, report to the police station," Fohlin said. "The police will escort you to the Selectmen's Room on that side of Town Hall, and I'll contact (Director of Public Works) Tim (Kaiser), and we'll open the shelter.

"I guess the way I'd put it is: We all have a key."

Fohlin further told iBerkshires that "We have prepared three levels of response including Town Hall, a local motel, and the elementary school. At the elementary school we have a standby emergency generator, cots and blankets, food supplies, and staffing. The decision to open the elementary school in preference to the other two alternatives will be made based upon the number of people needing shelter and the expected duration of the event." Read more on the story here.

North Adams has opened an emergency shelter at St. Elizabeth's Parish Center.
Noon:
North Adams, Adams and Clarksburg have declared states of emergency as of noon. Emergency shelters are open at St. Elizabeth's Parish Center (St. Anthony's) in North Adams and the Adams Visitors Center.

Williamstown will determine later today if it will open a shelter; in Clarksburg, those in need of shelter should contact the Fire Department at 413-663-5761.

Scattered power outages are being reported throughout Centreal and Southern Berkshires.


9:45 a.m.:
Statement from NARH: North Adams Regional Hospital is prepared for our weather ahead.  We are able to operate the hospital normally for at least 96 hours in a power outage using generator power.

We have been coordinating with the North Adams emergency operations center and our own Emergency Preparations team met this morning to review our status.  Staffing and supplies are adequate and we assume that some staff will be staying overnight so that travel is not necessary during the height of the storm.  We will activate our own emergency operations center this afternoon (a Code Red, which is called during a community emergency; we are currently in Code Watch).


12:30 a.m.: New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ will be closed.



Sunday, Oct. 28

7:30 p.m.: Situational update from MEMA: Hurricane Sandy is currently off the coast of North Carolina and is expected to move north-northwest tonight and tomorrow, making landfall along the New Jersey coast sometime Monday night into Tuesday. 

Given the large geographic size and duration of Sandy, Massachusetts will experience moderate to major impacts, including damaging winds for a period of 12–18 hours, associated widespread power outages, and heavy rains. In addition, both south- and east-facing coastlines will experience moderate to major coastal flooding and beach erosion.

Potential impacts of Sandy include:

Winds: A long period (12–18 hours) of damaging winds will occur, and it is anticipated these strong winds will result in widespread power outages. Wind damage may be exacerbated in southern New England as most trees still have foliage at this time of year. Inland Massachusetts could experience sustained 30-40 mph winds with gusts of 50-60 mph. beginning Monday morning. The Massachusetts coastline will see winds of 40-50 mph with gusts 60-80 mph beginning in late Sunday night and early Monday morning. 

Rainfall: Massachusetts can expect 1-3 inches of rainfall Sunday night through Wednesday with locally higher amounts of 3-5 inches possible, especially in the Berkshires and Worcester Hills. Rain is expected to begin Sunday night and potentially last through mid-week.


8 p.m.: All Berkshire County schools have canceled classes for Monday. Adams-Cheshire and North Adams are also scheduled for closure on Tuesday but we'll confirm before listing them.


5:15 p.m.: Adams announces Town Hall, Council on Aging and library also will be closed Monday.


4:30 p.m.: Gov. Deval Patrick holds press conference at MEMA headquarters in Framingham. Schools and businesses are urged to close Monday. Executive branch offices will be closed Monday and nonessential workers told to stay home.

EEOA Secretary Rick Sullivan says the mobilization on the ground by state utilities is the largest ever but they will be rated on outcomes, not just preparations.


3:30 p.m.: Press release: The Town of Adams will be declaring a state emergency, effective at NOON on Monday, Oct. 29.

The Emergency Shelter at the Adams Visitor's Center will be opened at 12:00 NOON. Any residents with power outages, damage, or any other reason that must leave their homes are welcome to report to the Shelter. People should bring with them food, water and all other essential supplies, including hygienic items and medications. People are encouraged not to bring their pets, but if they must they can be housed across the street at the Adams Fire District. All pets must have food and be crated, or else we will not be able to house them.

Adams-Cheshire Regional Schools will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, further closure information will be forthcoming if needed.

Adams Council on Aging programming will be closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Residents who experience any storm damage and are in need of assistance should call the Adams Police Department at 413-743-1212, or at 911.


3 p.m.: Williamstown officials meet at Spruces Mobile Home Park to update residents.
The park is prone to flooding but rain is not expected to be an issue with this storm. The town will open an emergency shelter Monday afternoon if needed. Officials are in touch with state and local emergency management agencies.


2 p.m.: North Adams emergency management response team meets at North Adams Ambulance Service. Team includes department heads, ambulance personnel, Red Cross, North Adams Regional Hospital, local clergy, liasions from local communities, state police and others.

The North Adams Emergency Operations Center at the ambulance opens at 6 a.m. on Monday; shelter at St. Elizabeth's Parish Center opens at noon. Full press release and information can be found here.


Saturday, Oct. 27
12:45 p.m.: Gov. Deval Patrick declares state of emergency, President Obama signs the federal version the next day ensuring aid

Berkshires Survives Hurricane Sandy With Little Damage
Williamstown Taking Proactive Steps With Sandy
Hurricane Sandy Prompts School, Town Office Closures
Berkshire Communities Preparing for Storm's Worst

Governor, MEMA Update on Storm Preparations

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