With Hurricane Sandy expected to make landfall some 600 miles away, you might be tempted to dismiss this storm, but Southborough officials say that would be a mistake. Here’s the latest update from Chairman of the Board of Selectmen John Rooney on what forecasters expect and how the town is getting ready.
I, along with members of the SEMA, have participated in five conference calls this weekend. We just completed another call with the National Weather Service (NWS), state officials, and Governor Patrick.
I cannot stress enough the powerful nature of this storm. This is still a very, very dangerous Category 1 Hurricane. The hurricane’s pressure is at 951 mb, something unheard of when a storm is this far north. Although 600 miles away, we are already experiencing the effects of Sandy. Hurricane force wind warnings are in effect throughout the coast all the way to Chatham. Because the wind field is so large and extends so far from the center core, a NJ landfall should not cause you to believe that we will just have residual impact.
For us in Southborough, early Monday morning we will be experiencing sustained 30-40 mph winds with gusts between 50-60 mph that will last throughout the day and into the evening. At this time we are looking at a Level II EOC activation initially on Monday going right into 24 hour operations. There will be wide spread power outages. The wind event will be very long and as such power repair will not begin until the wind dies down. Temperatures are expected to be in the upper 40’s during the night and in the 50’s during the day.
NWS advises that these outages “Will be far worse than experienced with Irene.” Governor Patrick has indicated that the utilities are well aware of the magnitude of what we are dealing with and that we have fresh in our minds their performance a year ago. In Southborough, we have been contacted by both NSTAR and National Grid. We have EOC number (and a SEMA rep. cell phone) for NSTAR. We have a cell phone number for an assigned National Grid representative who is scheduled to report to us on Monday if needed. As such, we feel that we have done as much pre-storm coordination with the utilities as possible given the circumstances.
The NWS has numerous concerns, “all very bad” for New England. TODAY is the final day to finalize your storm preparation, for the arrival of tomorrow morning will be too late to begin preparations. Please take steps to ensure the preparedness and safety of your family (and pets) starting NOW.
The Governor will be addressing the public later this afternoon as to travel and safety issues. I will update you as new information becomes available.