Governor Deval Patrick says ‘fortunate’ Massachusetts avoided major Hurricane Sandy damage
FRAMINGHAM - Governor Deval Patrick said today he was relieved that the state escaped serious damage from Hurricane Sandy, but he emphasized that he is keeping close watch on the utilities, which are in the process of restoring power to some 225,000 customers.
Crews for National Grid, NStar, and Unitil were at work in nearly every corner of the state, seeking to repair damaged lines.
Patrick said that overall Massachusetts had fared far better than New York and New Jersey. The state fared so well, in fact, that Patrick said Massachusetts will see if it can send resources to New York and New Jersey.
“We are very, very fortunate indeed, ” Patrick said in a news conference at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency bunker in Framingham. He said there was “no place where there is devastation.’’
He added, “I’m relieved, that’s for sure.’’
“Now is the time for them to perform,’’ Patrick said. “We have to see how that goes and make a judgment when we see how it goes.’’
As of 11:30 a.m., 161,149 National Grid customers, 55,526 NStar customers, 341 Unitil customers, and 8,885 Western Massachusetts Electric Co. customers were without power, according to the companies’ outage status websites. The 225,961 customers affected was down from 272,107 as recently as 11:30 a.m. today, and down from the number at mid-evening Monday, which was about 385,000.
Patrick said the state has dispatched damage assessment teams around the state, and that he expects to have a more detailed picture of Sandy’s impact on the state later today. He said utilities are performing their own damage assessments now.
The power outages were most heavily distributed in coastal communities, which were batterred by high winds and storm surges, and in leafy suburban communities
For all its intensity, Hurricane Sandy is now officially over. Bill Simpson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton, said bands of showers are expected throughout today, generated by the weather system that was once Sandy.
Simpson said the showers — and today’s midday high tide — together are not going to be severe enough to renew concerns about flooding in coastal or low-lying areas of the state. Temperatures today will reach 70, well above the seasonal norm of somewhere in the 50s, he said.
“The winds are pretty much diminished,’’ Simpson said. “All of our issues are coming to an end this morning.’’ At mid-morning, golden sunshine peeked through the clouds in some areas, a far cry from Monday’s gunmetal-gray, angry skies.
Boston’s public school system and many others around the state opened this morning, but dozens of other public school districts remained closed or had delayed openings.
The MBTA, which shut down at 2 p.m. Monday, resumed service at 5 a.m. today with some cancellations and changes in services. Transportation Secretary Richard Davey told reporters that all regular services on the T had resumed, except for a section of the Green Line’s D line branch that passes through a heavily treed section of Newton.
Logan International Airport is open, but passengers are being urged to check with airlines to make sure their destination airports are also open.
In Boston, 30 street sweepers have been deployed to shovel debris, according to Dot Joyce, spokeswoman for Mayor Thomas M. Menino. The city has responded to more than 500 reports of downed trees, with the highest concentration on side streets in West Roxbury, Joyce said.
Officials responded Tuesday morning to a report in Roxbury that a building on Harrison Avenue had lost its roof. Overall the city fared well. There have been no reports of major damage or flooding.
Courthouses, which were closed around noon on Monday, will reopen at noon today.
In Fall River, one of the areas that were expected to be hard hit by the coastal flooding, Mayor William A. Flanagan said official had taken the weather forecast very seriously.
“We’re a coastal community, and were very concerned for those in Mount Hope Bay and along the Taunton River,” he said.
Flanagan said officials were expecting wind gusts between 60 to 80 miles per hour, flooding, and storm surges of three to seven feet.
A mandatory evacuation for those living along Atlantic Boulevard was issued as Sandy neared, but Flanagan said some still stayed behind with their homes.
“The cleanup process has begun,” Flanagan said, adding that schools were canceled for a second day.
Flanagan said the area near Battleship Cove saw the most flooding. Although water levels near Atlantic Boulevard were high, water never made it to the homes that were evacuated. “We did not receive the destruction we were prepared for, but we were prepared and we were ready,” he said.
In Waltham, close to 20 families were homeless after severe winds from Sandy ripped off part of the roof of an apartment building.
The Lexington Street building lost part of its roof at about 7 p.m. Tuesday, said Paul J. Ciccone, Waltham fire chief.
The roof became “became detached and did, in fact, blow off part of the building,” Ciccone said. The damaging winds left a gaping hole in the rear of the roof, allowing heavy rain to fall inside. An inspector deemed the building unsafe.
The storm had previously knocked out power to the apartments. The families living in the apartments were able to arrange other shelter on their own and no one was injured. The building owner is making arrangements to repair the damage, he said.
In Orleans, the city and state were working to repair a stretch of Route 28 that had been undermined by flooding. Route 28 was closed in the area near Tar Kiln Road.
Sandy made landfall in southern New Jersey and it cut a destructive path nearly 1,000 miles wide, causing massive disruptions throughout the Northeast. It was classified as a post-tropical cyclone, rather than a hurricane, by the time it hit the New Jersey coast at around 8 p.m. Monday, the National Hurricane Center said.
The powerful late-season storm, which killed nearly 70 people in the Caribbean, brought the Bay State to a near-standstill. As most people hunkered down at home, major roads were half-empty, public transit shut down, and schools, malls, and businesses were closed.
As Sandy moved toward the coast, the Category 1 hurricane packed winds up to 90 miles per hour, and forecasters said it could stand as the largest hurricane in New England history. Its air pressure — an indicator of the storm’s power — was the lowest ever recorded in the area.
Wind gusts of more than 60 miles per hour were reported in Brookline, Milton, Lawrence, Barnstable, Falmouth, and Fairhaven on Monday afternoon. Winds around 81 miles per hour were reported in Wellfleet just after 2 p.m., and a buoy off Cuttyhunk recorded a gust of 83 miles per hour.
By about 11 p.m. on Monday, the winds from Sandy had subsided but heavy rains continued to pound the region overnight.Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report. John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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