Power out, roads still closed in Southborough after Hurricane Sandy

by susan on October 30, 2012

Post image for Power out, roads still closed in Southborough after Hurricane Sandy

Above: A tree down blocking Clifford and Deerfoot Roads today (photo via Twitter:@gotpolitics)

Southborough is cleaning up in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. National Grid reports 950 customers are still without power in town, and a number of roads remain closed to traffic, including the main thoroughfare that is Framingham Road.

Southborough officials have been working with the utility on getting service restored. “National Grid is focusing on Priority 1 issues, which are those that are ‘life threatening’,” Southborough Town Administrator Mark Purple said in an email this afternoon. “National Grid is setting up response times over the next 24 hours as to when service will be back in various areas.”

Purple said some of the outages may be resolved within the next 24 hours, but National Grid won’t make an commitments right now. Thirteen line crews and five tree crews are currently assigned to service Southborough, Northborough, and Westborough, he said.

According to the National Grid outage map, the number of customers without power has actually increased throughout the day, going from 500 this morning to just under 950 by early afternoon.

“It is my understanding that there are large feeder lines that need to be repaired, and must be taken offline to do so, which is why the numbers have gone up,” Purple said.

“The town understands the terrible inconvenience and consequences attendant to being without electricity, and we will not stop working to make sure the utilities understand the urgency of the matter,” Chairman of the Board of Selectmen John Rooney said this afternoon.

Purple said town officials will meet with National Grid again at 5:00 pm for another update and to “see what we still have on our list.”

While there are many in Southborough with no power, Purple said our town was not hit as hard as some of its neighbors. “Northborough started the day with approximately 75% of the town without power, and most of Westborough’s sewer and water stations were on backup generator,” he said.

The Southborough Town House still has limited power and remains closed today. There are lights and phones, but no computers, copiers, or printers, Purple said. Tonight’s open meeting of the Board of Selectmen has been canceled. The board still plans to hold their scheduled executive session, but not at the Town House.

The following roads are still blocked or have limited access:

  • Nichols @ Clemons
  • Pine Hill @ #89
  • 60 Deerfoot
  • Framingham @ East Main
  • 3 Moulton
  • Oregon Road @ the Ashland line
  • Willow @ Route 9
  • 56-58 School Street
  • Burnett @ High Street

There are also trees laying on the wires at Parkerville and Southville, but it is passable.

Purple said as of now there are no plans to postpone Halloween trick-or-treating tomorrow night, “but we are hoping to resolve some of these Priority 1 issues so that trick or treating can be done safely.”

{ 12 comments }

1 John Rooney October 30, 2012 at 2:07 PM

In follow up to Mr. Purple’s recent update and Ms. Fitzgerald’s story giving you information as to exactly where we are, please know that we continue to work with the utilities toward the objective of complete power restoration in town. It is easy to say “have patience” especially when those saying it have electrical power. The town understands the terrible inconvenience and consequences attendant to being without electricity, and we will not stop working to make sure the utilities understand the urgency of the matter. Throughout the day and into the evening yesterday we had a National Grid liaison present at the fire station, seated less than 10 feet away from me, who was in continuous contact with National Grid principals stressing the need for immediate action. Her presence yesterday, though not 100% effective as witnessed by past and continued outages, certainly made a difference for many who had their power restored or uninterrupted.

There was a significant amount of tree damage which included power lines. We are told that our town is doing “real well” in comparison to other communities in our zone. I do not believe those without power right now would agree that we are doing real well. Our Priority One is full residential power restoration and making streets passable. The town house is for the most part without power, and we have told the utility to put that restoration on the bottom of its list until full and complete residential restoration.

Although I should wait to send out a “thank you” message until all efforts are completed, I wanted to inform the town of some of the efforts I witnessed and participated in during this historic storm. In addition to the numerous conferences over the weekend, the performance of the Southborough Emergency Management Agency, all town department heads, town employees, and numerous town volunteers was truly beyond all expectation and it was sincerely an honor to be a participant.

On behalf of the BOS, I want to personally thank every individual who selfishly dedicated their entire day, and continue to dedicate time and effort, caring for our town. I recognize that there is a risk in failing to note the names of many that may not have passed through my radar. I apologize in advance to those individuals, but wanted to thank the following, and certainly in no particular order: Selectman Boland, Mark Purple, Chiefs Mauro and Moran, former Chief John Mauro, Lieutenant Neal Aspesi, Karen Galligan, Phil Rinehart, Doreen Ferguson, Sherri Lajeunesse, Carol Willoughby, Steve Whynot, Matt Braccio, Robert Lagasse, Carol Yazzo, E.J. Purcell, David Docksteader, Tom Muise, and Mark Spruill. Thank you especially to each and every police officer, firefighter and DPW employee who worked throughout the day and into the night. The town’s employees evinced a commitment reflective of their dedication to public service.

Special recognition goes out to the dedicated volunteerism of Steve Whynot and Matt Braccio. Steve and Matt acted as proverbial pin balls, chainsaw in hand, going from one fallen tree in the roadway to the next – again, and again, and again. Their efforts in conjunction with the crew from the DPW kept most roadways passable, excepting those roadways where we are required to yield to the utilities. Covered with gas, oil and sawdust, sweat dripping from the faces, they performed their efforts not for any compensation or recognition; their sole motivation was to help the residents in town, and for that we should all be extremely thankful.

The quantity and quality of work performed by all of these people, often unasked and generally unseen, was a true testament to what makes our town such a great place to live and work. Every resident concern was immediately addressed and the town did everything in our power to lessen the magnitude of this powerful storm. When a call came into to the Operations Center, it was immediately routed to the individual or individuals assigned to that particular task; when those individuals were not available, others immediately jumped in. No one sat around and did nothing: Mr. Purple could be seen moving downed trees on the roadway with Chief Mauro, Phil Rinehart was personally inspecting town building damage and a leak on the fire station roof during the height of the storm, while Chiefs Mauro and Moran orchestrated the moves of their entire departments without ever once requesting additional assistance. Ms. Galligan’s coordination of her department was amazing, never hesitating or thinking twice about what needed to be done to help the town. As Ms. Galligan left the Operations Center last night around 8:30 p.m., finally on her way home to her family, the skies opened up once again and a deluge of rain greeted her departure. That was the type of day it was. And all of this activity was overseen and systematically managed in a professional and calm manner by our Director of Operations, Lieutenant Neal Aspesi of the Southborough Fire Department.

Our town’s Emergency Operations have become a model now being emulated by other towns. This is not something that just falls into place or is developed over night. It is a process that takes an inordinate amount of work, has been years in the making, and it is a process that I did not know existed prior to last year’s Hurricane Irene. I do know first hand that it is something that we as a town are incredibly lucky to have.

Thank you again everyone for your unselfish approach to your town, your dedication to your job, and your unparalleled commitment to our residents.

John Rooney

2 Al Hamilton October 30, 2012 at 4:33 PM

John

Thanks for the clear communications. Your leadership is appreciated.

3 Barbara Beek October 30, 2012 at 7:07 PM

We’ve lived on Wood Street in Southborough for 15 years and every storm – major and some minor – has left us without power. We cannot commend National Grid’s efforts enough for pruning tree limbs on our street this fall. Their efforts were certainly part, if not the whole, reason we didn’t lose power with Hurricane Sandy.

4 Grateful Resident October 31, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Mr. Rooney,

Thanks to you and the other town officials and employees who have helped the town recover from this natural disaster.

THANK YOU to the National Grid and Nstar line crews who worked under very difficulty conditions to get my power back today.

I asked one of the National Grid workers why they waited until the morning after the storm to work on the downed power lines. He told me that for safety reasons, the line crews cannot work in the bucket trucks when the wind is in excess of 30 mph. I wouldn’t want to get in one of those things when the wind is calm, let alone 30 mph!

It is easy for all of us to complain and make snarky comments about the power loss such as “I do not believe those without power right now would agree that we are doing real well.” Those kind of comments detract from the otherwise excellent job you have done of providing information to us.

Just a comment from someone who is grateful to have power back on AND someone who understands that because most of this area is blesses with beautiful trees, sometimes they will fall on the power lines. I accept that as part of the cost of living in this beautiful town.

5 resident October 30, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Why are tbere people in the superintendents office with limited power? If tbey are there why isn’t the town hall opened. Hopefully nobody gets hurt at the schools and we end up with a lawsuit on our hands.

6 mike October 30, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Thanks for the update John! Do you know if there has been any town communication with Nstar? I think I am one of a handful of Nstar customer’s in Southborough (Vine St./Lincoln Lane). Much appreciated.

7 Gavin Shaw October 30, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Is Halloween postponed tomorrow?

8 susan October 30, 2012 at 9:01 PM
9 John Rooney October 30, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Mike, I have asked the town administrator to get back to you on this because in all honesty I simply do not know the answer.

10 Amy October 30, 2012 at 9:34 PM

FYI as of tonight tree on Deerfoot remains in the road- with school on for tomorrow how are buses going to get through? Our bus route comes from Flag to Deerfoot to Clifford- they are not going to get through tomorrow.

11 John Rooney October 31, 2012 at 5:53 PM

mike, The Town Administrator reached out to his prior contact at Nstar and he was told that it appears to be a blown fuse and a crew should either be there now or they are on their way. Not having any other way to get in contact with you, I hope you read this message.

John

12 Mike October 31, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Thanks for following up John!

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