Somerville Declares State of Emergency in Anticipation of Hurricane Sandy

On Monday: Schools will be closed; trash pickup begins at 5 a.m.; residents are advised to "shelter in place."

The city of Somerville Sunday night declared a state of emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy, which is expected to batter Eastern Massachusetts beginning midday on Monday.

The state of emergency takes effect Monday at 1 a.m., according to an announcement from the city.

Residents are advised to "shelter in place" during the storm.

Trash pickup will begin at 5 a.m. Monday to clear the streets of debris before the worst of the storm begins, the announcement says, and the city asks residents to take in trash cans before 10 a.m.

Here's the full announcement from the city:


12-Hour Period of Sustained High Winds (50 MHP+) Forecast to Begin Late Monday Morning; Somerville Public Schools Cancelled for Monday; Residents Urged to “Shelter in Place;” Monday Trash Pickup Begins at 5 a.m.

SOMERVILLE – Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone announced today that, in conjunction with Governor Deval Patrick’s Saturday declaration of a weather-related  State of Emergency for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Somerville has declared a public State of Emergency effective 1 a.m. on the morning of Monday, October 29, 2012.  Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi announced that he has cancelled Monday classes and activities for all Somerville Public Schools.  Additionally, Monday morning trash pickup will begin earlier than normal, 5:00 a.m., in order to minimize additional debris caused by unusually high winds.

“The latest forecasts suggest that Hurricane Sandy will batter eastern Massachusetts with an unusually prolonged period of sustained winds in excess of 50 miles an hour – perhaps for as long as twelve hours beginning midday on Monday,” said Mayor Curtatone. “Winds are likely to gust even higher during that period, but fifty miles per hour is more than enough to bring down tree branches and power lines, and to cause other types of significant damage.  No one should be taking this storm lightly.”  Mayor Curtatone indicated that the City would monitor power outages and other impacts of the storm, and would be prepared to open shelters if necessary. “We’ll be using the Connect CTY system, our website and 311 to keep residents informed as we learn more about the track and intensity of the storm.”

The Mayor recommended that, starting on Sunday evening, city residents stay indoors and off city streets until advised that it is safe to come outside. “Studies show at sheltering in place is the best way to avoid injuries.  It also lets repair and cleanup crews do their work as quickly as possible,” Curtatone said. Emergency Management officials suggest that residents should plan on having food, water, batteries, flashlights, etc, to enable them to stay inside for up to 72 hours.  Residents with a Monday trash pickup are urged to put their trash out on Sunday evening and to recover their trash bins by no later than 10 a.m.  Residents may also use heavy-gauge trash bags and keep their trash bins and barrels secured during the storm.

“City crews have been working since late Thursday to clear out storm drains and catch-basins, cut down dead trees, trim potentially hazardous tree branches and to sandbag low-lying municipal facilities that have experienced flooding in past storms,” said Department of Public Works Commissioner Stanley Koty.  “We’ll be coordinating with the MWRA and other state agencies to make sure we eliminated potential backups further downstream so that we get maximum flow during periods of heavy rain.”

“Right now, forecasts indicate that rainfall be extensive – up to five inches from Sunday night through Tuesday morning – but spread out over a long period,” said Mayor Curtatone.  “That pattern would improve our chances to avoid flooding but we’re not taking anything for granted.  We will be as prepared as we can possibly be, and we hope residents will take basic precautions as well.”

City officials offered the following Preparation Guidelines:

For high-wind preparation: 

  • Bring in or secure lawn furniture and hanging decorations (including Halloween decorations)
  • Trim dead wood and weak or overhanging branches from all trees;
  • Check and secure anchoring for covered porches;
  • Reinforce garage doors so that they are able to withstand high winds;
  • Install tie-downs for sheds, fuel tanks, television antennas and dishes, and woodpiles;

 After the storm:

  • Be safe. If you have sheltered in place, stay inside until you are sure that it is safe to go outdoors.  If you have evacuated your home or sheltered elsewhere, do not try to re-enter your home or attempt repairs until it is safe to do so;
  • Keep children and pets away from downed or low-hanging power lines;
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible;
  • Do not make permanent repairs until the adjuster has inspected the property - but do take action to prevent further damage, like covering holes in the roof or removing water;
  • Take pictures of any storm related damage to your property or belongings, particularly if you must throw away items of value that are bacteria-laden;
  • Keep a record of all your receipts, and document any time you spent securing your property, and your conversations with the insurance company.  

For additional and updated information, visit the Alerts section of the City’s homepage on the web, www.somervillema.gov


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