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Scituate officials urge coastal evacuation; schools closed Thursday

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  March 6, 2013 12:48 PM

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Scituate’s coastal residents are being encouraged to evacuate their homes, pending the arrival of yet another storm Thursday morning.

According to a storm advisory issued by the town Wednesday afternoon, coastal flooding during the three tide cycles (to occur Thursday morning at 6:51 a.m., Thursday evening at 7:35 p.m., and Friday morning at 7:56 a.m.) will be higher than Storm Nemo.

“Coastal residents are strongly advised to evacuate no later than three hours before high tide. If you remain you do so at your own risk and peril,” the update said

Town officials have already decided to open the shelter at Scituate High School at 8 p.m. Wednesday night.

All Scituate Public Schools will be closed for Thursday. Town officials said they would play school closings for Friday by ear, and closings will largely depend on storm impacts and flooding

Town Administrator Patricia Vinchesi was in meetings Wednesday prepping for the storm, however Selectman Tony Vegnani said the town is preparing for the worst.

“We’re just trying to get people aware and get them out of their houses,” he said. “There is not going to be as much snow, but there will be sustained winds at 30-40 miles her hour, so we’re really just getting prepared for everything.”

Streets with typical flooding are the ones the town is targeting, including areas of Humarock, Sandy Beach, the Glades, and Lighthouse Road. Town officials are still deliberating whether to go door-to-door to suggest that people leave.

Whether homeowners leave the power on or board up their homes is up to them, Vegnani said.

“I think everyone is going to have to look at their own situation and see what’s best for their home,” he said. “The most important thing is their safety. We’re hoping people get to the shelter if they need to be and that there is enough time to make alternate plans. People were fairly attentive last time, we’re expecting they will be again.”

Less than a month after dealing with a five-day ordeal in February that involved huge amounts of snow, coastal flooding, and power outages, the preparations are beginning to feel routine.

After residents ventured too closely to the shores during previous storms, all media and the public have also been told that no travel will be allowed in coastal areas affected by coastal flooding.

Residents were also reminded Wednesday to use 911 only for emergencies, as the line has been misused during previous coastal events.

Weather forecasts are varying in severity, but because Scituate is an east-facing community, they are more vulnerable to water damage, said Globe Meterologist David Epstein.

The three high tides during the storm will also be problematic due to the storm surge, which is predicted to be about 2 1/2 to three feet above normal.

Wind may also cause problems for the coast, with gusts anticipated to reach 50 miles an hour on Thursday.

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