(Updated 4:30 p.m.) Storm Center Notebook: Most Of Merrimack Valley Still Without Power
Mar 08, 2018 12:08AM ● Published by Bill Gilman
Photo taken by Tewksbury Police at the height of the storm.
There have been bigger winter storms in the past decade but few have caused the devastation as the storm that pounded the Merrimack Valley overnight.
More than 16 inches of snow fell throughout the region, taking down tree limbs and power lines and leaving the vast majority of the Merrimack Valley without power throughout the day Thursday.
According to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, 82 percent of Tewksbury was without power as of 4:30 p.m. -- that represents 10,213 homes and businesses. The situation is worse in Dracut, where 87 percent of the town is still without power (down from 92 percent) representing 11,489 homes and businesses.
Across the state, more than 305,000 people are still without power. Unfortunately, the news is not encouraging as to when power will be restored.
MEMA issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:
"Utilities report this will be a multi-day restoration effort. Those without power should stay with friends, family, at hotels or a nearby shelter - Call local public safety officials or 2-1-1 for shelter locations Safety tips: http://bit.ly/2j5qs8X "
In the meantime, Massachusetts Highway Department and local DPW crews are working to clear the roads of snow and any debris. The morning commute was a nightmare for those who had to try and get to work but the afternoon commute is expected to be much better.
From Dracut Town Manager Jim Duggan157,000 out in Merrimack Valley. Anticipate restoring power in +/- 72 hours. We are going to prioritize intersections that lights are out with stop signs. Trash pickup tomorrow will continue. Residents can charge their electronic devices at the Police and central fire stations. Only Town Hall and Library will be open tomorrow (they both have power).
Church Opens Its Doors And Offers a Free Supper
Tewksbury Congregational Church located at 10 East Street, will be open between 4pm - 7pm tonight for a no cost spaghetti dinner. Plan to charge your electronics and get warm. All are welcome.
From Tewksbury Town Hall
DPW Crews are having difficulty accessing certain streets and pushing back snow on roads due to down trees. Once these trees are cleared they will return to those areas to clear snow which will impact resident’s driveways. DPW Crews are also working to clear trees to allow safe street access and for power to be restored. The DPW’s priority is to clear roads and allow access to utility crews. They will not respond to non-emergency tree work at this time.
From Gov. Charlie BakerThe Office of Gov. Charlie Baker issued the following statement Thursday morning --
Due to prolonged impacts of the ongoing winter storm, Governor Charlie Baker is announcing that all offices for non-emergency state executive branch employees will be closed today. Overnight, heavy snowfall and high winds have resulted in hazardous driving conditions. With several communities experiencing power outages and downed trees, the administration is urging residents to stay off roadways and to use public transportation when possible.
The Baker-Polito Administration remains in close contact with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, National Weather Service, MassDOT and State Police to monitor the forecast. The MBTA Storm Desk will continue to monitor rail service throughout the storm and provide updates to commuters at www.MBTA.com/winter.
On The Bright Side!Posted by our friends at Wamesit Lanes in Tewksbury.
"Wamesit has power and is opening at Noon today....come on in!"
From The Tewksbury PoliceTrees and wires continue to come down in #Tewksbury causing numerous road closures and power outages. Please limit all non-essential travel, as road conditions remain poor to dangerous. Great teamwork with our partners at @TewksburyFire and @TownofTewksbury DPW all night! TPD21
From The Dracut PoliceWe are asking folks to call @nationalgridus direct for power outages at 800-456-1212 so they can have an accurate record of outages. Please be patient as we prioritize and respond to as many calls as possible #Dracut
From The Tewksbury Fire DepartmentIf smoke or CO alarms are chirping or going into alarm in your home, it is likely from weak batteries if you have lost power. Please check your batteries. We will respond if you feel you have an emergency or concern in your home.
Closures and postponements
- The Tewksbury High Mandatory Social Host Makeup Presentation for Wednesday, March 7 and Thursday, March 8 has been rescheduled for Monday, March 12 at 2:00pm and 6:00pm.
- Tewksbury School Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday March 7, has been postponed until Tuesday, March 13.
- Dracut High School Winter Awards Night, scheduled for Thursday night, is cancelled due to the storm & power outages. It is rescheduled to next Thursday, March 15th at 6:30 PM in the Auditorium.
Verizon Storm & Restoration Information
To Report Service Related Issues
Customers can contact Verizon at 1-800-VERIZON (1-800-837-4966) or online at www.verizon.com/outage to report any service-related issue, receive alert and find helpful service-related FAQs.
Small business customers can visit www.verizon.com/bizoutage. Medium business and enterprise customers should contact their regular customer service centers or account teams, as needed. Enterprise customers can also access the Enterprise Center at https://enterprisecenter.verizon.com.
Verizon's toll free number, website and storm tips may be posted to your Municipal website and public access channels.
From National GridNational Grid issued the following statement at 2 p.m. Thursday:
While last night's heavy, wet snow and high winds caused extensive damage to trees and our infrastructure, rest assured we have hundreds of crews on the ground. They are focused on the hardest hit areas of north and west Massachusetts and our immediate priority is responding to emergencies and restoring hospitals and other critical locations. We’re working to assess damage and will be updating estimated restoration times as they become available.
We urge customers to put safety first. Consider all downed wires to be live and dangerous, as they may be in contact with energized electric wires hidden from view. To report downed electric wires, please call us at 1-800-465-1212 or your local emergency response organization.
From Tewksbury Selectman Mark Kratman, who works for the Mass. Highway Deptartment