State of Emergency
Lynch advises residents to seek shelter, stay off the road; National Guard deployed
Mont Vernon resident Kevin Pomeroy, with his wife, Jessica, and children Oliver, 5 and Isaac, 3, brave the elements while checking out the wind and waves at Hampton Beach Sunday. (Jason Schreiber/Union Leader Correspondent)
Red Cross opens shelter in Keene at Washington Street rec center
Gov. John Lynch asks all motorists to stay off the road this afternoon
100 National Guardsmen activated to respond to Hurricane Sandy
Those who lose power today shouldn't expect restoration until wind subsides
Manchester opens Emergency Operations Center, all government meetings canceled
NH rivers well below flood stage says National Weather Service
Gusts up to 55 mph expected in south-central and southwestern New Hampshire
White Mountain National Forest officials urge caution, campgrounds and some roads closed
“Based on the information we were given, which is that the area could be experiencing heavy rain with wind gusts of between 60 and 70 mph between 2 and 3 p.m. (today), we didn't want to be sending students home in those type of conditions,” Manchester School Superintendent Tom Brennan said. “Also, it was suggested that residents should begin hunkering down around noon in preparation for the storm's arrival. We took all of that into consideration when making the decision.”
A list of school cancellations can be found here. Many communities have also rescheduled trick-or-treat times; those can be found at NewHampshire.com.
Gov. John Lynch and state Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Christopher M. Pope are urging all New Hampshire residents and visitors to take warnings about the hurricane seriously.
Lynch ordered the National Guard to put 100 soldiers on active duty by 10 a.m. today to be prepared to assist state and local personnel, with another 100 available on standby.
Unitil officials announced they would open several regional operations centers at 8 a.m. today, according to spokesman Alec O'Meara. The company warned that the region might have extended power outages.
“This could be a scenario where there are multiple outage peaks over the course of the event,” O'Meara said. “People could have power restored, then lose power again before the storm has passed completely.”
Marguerite Curtis of the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, said the brunt of the storm would hit New Hampshire about 2 p.m., with wind gusts of 15 to 20 mph gradually increasing to up to 60 mph in some parts of the state. That will continue through 2 a.m. Tuesday, she said.
“We expect to see widespread power outages and coastal flooding,” she noted, adding that waves on the coastline could reach up to 20 feet.
“It's certainly not a time to be hanging out on the beach,” said Curtis.
Workers at the Ashworth by the Sea hotel on Hampton Beach decided to board up some windows Sunday afternoon.
“We're just erring on the side of caution,” said Chuck King, the hotel's area chief engineer.
The Upper Valley
The Upper Valley region is expecting high winds of 30 to 40 mph, with gusts up to 70 mph and heavy rains beginning this afternoon and lasting through Tuesday, according to City Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Chris Christopoulos Jr.
Public Service of New Hampshire spokesman Martin Murray said the power company has requested an additional 450 line crews to arrive on Monday, with some traveling from as far away as Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma.
“We've worked to contact all our customers by phone to remind them how to prepare for outages,” Murray said Sunday.
Workers at Liberty Utilities, a natural gas and electrical utility provider that serves customers throughout New Hampshire, were also deploying emergency plans.
Liberty Utilities spokeswoman Maureen Kirk said the company would keep residents updated on outages via its Twitter and Facebook pages.
Derry, Bedford, Salem
In Derry, emergency preparations began late last week, according to Fire Chief George Klauber, with the town's department heads meeting to discuss the town's active emergency operations plan.
“It's a checklist we use to make sure everything is up and running: from computers to chainsaws,” Klauber said. “The goal is to make sure no major projects are left undone for Monday through Wednesday.”
In Bedford, local police began reaching out to residents late last week, urging them to prepare for severe weather. Officials suggested each home be equipped with a first aid kid, flashlights, gallons of water, non-perishable food items and a battery-operated radio.
Salem town officials participated in a conference call with state emergency management officials Friday afternoon, while members of the fire department checked their emergency response equipment.
“All our equipment and personnel will be in a ready position,” Salem Fire Chief Kevin Breen.
A full list of recommended steps residents can take to prepare for the storm is available online at www.nh.gov/readynh/.
In the event of an extended outage, a regional emergency shelter for residents from Londonderry and surrounding towns will open in the gymnasium at Londonderry High School, 295 Mammoth Road.
Sunday night, workers at the American Red Cross regional headquarters in Concord announced the availability of a new app to download to iPhones and Androids. Spokesman Kayleigh Robertson said the free application, available in both English and Spanish on iTunes or Google Play, will give citizens access to the most current storm information and regional emergency resources. More information is available on www.redcross.org.
New Hampshire Union Leader reporter Damien Fisher and correspondents April Guilmet, Jason Schreiber and Meghan Pierce contributed to this story.
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