Chairman of the Board of Selectmen John Rooney issued a statement on Friday night urging residents to take the threat of Hurricane Sandy seriously. While the path of the storm is still uncertain, Rooney said the town should be ready for a major impact.
Here’s his statement in full.
I along with members of the Southborough Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) have participated in multiple telephone conferences with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the National Weather Service in an effort to understand the likelihood and extent of impact to our town from Hurricane Sandy. I urge everyone to keep close watch on this dangerous storm, a storm described as “unprecedented.” One national weather expert commented that he has been monitoring New England weather for decades, and this storm rivals nothing that he has ever seen. And, while it is not my intention to sign off as “Chicken-little,” I really need to stress the importance of being prepared as individuals, families, and as a community.
All experts agree that the track of the storm will dictate local impact. They also agree that we need to be prepared for a major impact. At the most recent conference at 6:30 p.m., we have been advised the storm is tending to track toward more of a worse case scenario for Massachusetts. Based upon experts at the National Weather Service, this is shaping up to be a very slow moving, “historic” storm. The National Weather Service has told us that there is a strong possibility of very high winds extending far from the center with local sustained winds between 40-60 mph with gusts close to 70 mph. With many trees still fully leafed, there is a potential for extensive tree damage, and at a minimum, we should expect wide-spread power outages. This will also be a heavy rainfall event lasting in terms of days and not hours. The amount of rain could reach 5-8 inches throughout the storm. Serious coastal flooding and beach erosion is likely and comparisons are being made to the Blizzard of 1978. If there is any good news associated with this storm, we have been told that snow is not a possibility due to the warm inner core resulting from the storm’s inception. The Massachusetts DPU has been in close contact with the utilities obviously with the hope that the deficits we all encountered with National Grid from last year’s storm will not be relived.
The best estimate is the event looks like a late-Sunday evening start lasting through Tuesday, with the heaviest part of the storm hitting us Monday/Monday evening.
From a community perspective, SEMA is prepared to do whatever is necessary to ensure the safety of our residents, and all town department heads are coordinating efforts with SEMA. In the likely event many of us in town are without power, we will make every effort to establish effective and reliable lines of communications through websites such as www.mysouthborough.com; www.southboroughnews.com; www.southborough.dailyvoice.com; and, www.metrowestdailynews.com. Please keep handy the telephone number 508-299-4448 to be used along with the emergency 911 number.
Finally, I am sure parallels will be drawn with the boy who cried “wolf.” That said, I am quite sure that, if the villagers who heard the boy cry “wolf” one time too many had some form of reassurance that the boy’s last cry was sincere, they would have responded appropriately and he would be alive instead of being dinner for the ravenous canine. When dealing with scientific uncertainty and the whims of mother nature, it is always better to be safe than sorry, and I would urge everyone not turn a deaf ear to this message; I can assure you that if you run up the grassy hill, you will not see me on the other side laughing.
Be safe Southborough.
John F. Rooney III