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Mass. Communities Prepare For Sandy

BOSTON — As Hurricane Sandy continues to barrel toward Massachusetts, people are taking a range of different approaches to prepare for the storm.

In Winthrop, it’s like the calm before the storm. Roller-bladers, joggers and dog-walkers enjoyed a sunny, balmy day Saturday as they waited for the storm. Mary Jane Norris was cleaning out her rain gutters and securing lawn furniture, but taking Sandy in stride.

“You’re always worried when you live on the water,” Norris said. “We’ve had some bad storms in the past so we hope for the best.”

Up the street on Revere Beach, Dorothy O’Brien, of Marshfield, was stocking up on firewood and non-perishable food. After Irene she lost power for days, but what she’s really worried about is possible wind-damage to her house.

“After Katrina, my insurance company changed my insurance,” O’Brien said. “If there’s wind damage to my house because I live within half mile of the ocean, I have to pay 20 percent of what the house is worth. But if the house caught on fire, I’d only have a $400 deductible.”

The storm is expected to bring strong winds and power outages. Emergency planners say they’re encouraged by steps utilities are making to avoid long lasting outages like those a year ago. But state energy secretary Richard Sullivan says power companies still have to prove themselves once the storm hits.

“They have absolutely ramped up their response here,” Sullivan said, “but we have made it crystal clear that plans are one thing and numbers are one thing but at the end of the day, the utilities are going to be judged by the response on the ground.”

All the buildup to the storm is too much for some people. Revere resident Mark Alba has trouble believing Sandy is going to be all that serious.

“In New England, you gotta expect that kind of stuff, you know what I mean?” Alba said. “Because storms come a dime a dozen in New England.”

Alba and several other people in Revere say the only big storm really worth talking remains the Blizzard of ’78.

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