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With Thoughts Back To Irene, Mass. Discusses Hurricane Preparedness

The Mayflower Shop in Chatham was boarded up -- but not closed -- before Tropical Storm Irene's arrival in Massachusetts in August 2011. (Fred Thys/WBUR)

The Mayflower Shop in Chatham was boarded up -- but not closed -- before Tropical Storm Irene's arrival in Massachusetts in August 2011. (Fred Thys/WBUR)

Months after Tropical Storm Irene caused widespread power outages, tree damage and flooding in Massachusetts — and worse in neighboring Vermont — state officials are gathering Wednesday for a hurricane preparedness conference.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is hosting the all-day event in Devens. MEMA spokesman Peter Judge told WBUR’s Sharon Brody that the conference’s goal is to coordinate the safety of residents from Cape Cod to the Berkshires.

“We wanna work to make things tighter and make things better,” he told Sharon. “So we don’t want people coming away with questions; we want them to be coming away with answers. So in that regard, hopefully everybody will find this a really rewarding day.”

Citing Irene, Judge warned that hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Western Massachusetts bore the brunt of the August storm’s flooding and damage.

The Associated Press adds:

National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read will be among dozens of presenters from agencies including the National Weather Service, Army Corps of Engineers and state Department of Environmental Protection.

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