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Framingham officials close town buildings, cancel school and public meetings due to Hurricane Sandy

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  October 29, 2012 11:50 AM

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Weather Underground/AP

In Framingham, officials announced that the town's offices would be closed as of 11 a.m. this morning, and have cancelled school and all public town meetings tonight due to Hurricane Sandy.

The storm, classified as a Category 1 hurricane, has already left nearly 10,000 residents statewide without power.

Governor Deval Patrick Sunday night ordered all state buildings to be closed, urged districts to close public schools, and implored private companies to let their employees work from home today.

In Framingham, officials announced this morning that all non-essential town personnel would be sent home at 11 a.m. All town offices in the Memorial Building, as well as the town's library, were closed.

Officials said that due largely to the moderate temperatures, there are no immediate plans to open shelters. However, there is a contingency plan to open shelters at either the Woodrow Wilson School and the Walsh Middle School if needed.

“The loss of power alone would not trigger us to put up shelter per se,” said Steven Trask, Framingham deputy police chief and emergency management director, on Friday. “It depends on what the outside temperatures are and other factors, but if neighborhoods are flooded and homes can't be inhabited, we would be sheltering at that point.”

Framingham Town Manager Bob Halpin said the town is also prepared to bus people to the shelters if necessary.

Last week, Framingham officials also implored residents to stock up on non-perishable food, flashlights, and batteries to prepare for the storm.

“People should prepare for a loss of power, because that is typical for this type of event,” Trask said.

Trask said residents should also check on any elderly, disabled, or vulnerable neighbors to make sure they weather the storm comfortably. Residents should also call their electricity providers and report if they experience power outages, he said.

He said that Framingham police and Department of Public Works employees had been preparing all Friday afternoon for the storm.

“They’re checking generator equipment and cleaning out catch basins to make sure everything is ready so the system can take the rain as best as it can,” Trask said. “We’re also checking staffing ability, and asking some people to cancel time off and things of that nature.”

Residents can call 508-532-5800, the town’s emergency operations center, with any questions or concerns during the storm. If the center is not open, the number reroutes back to Trask, he said.

Framingham State University has also cancelled all daytime and evening classes today due to Hurricane Sandy.

According to Framingham State's campus police, the school's dining commons will remain open but all other campus food operations will be closed. The library, athletic center, and health services will open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. No parking lot shuttle or Ram Tram services will be available.

The university will notify the campus community by email if weather conditions require a change in plans.

School officials said they encourage students who are at home to remain there. Students staying on campus are encouraged to remain indoors. Student athletes should be aware that all team practices are cancelled for today.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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