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Blog Updates: Sandy’s Aftermath In Mass.

7:15 p.m.: We’ll now close this blog (though WBUR obviously won’t end its coverage) with a link roundup from WBUR and NPR:

7 p.m.: There was more Sandy on All Things Considered, as host Sacha Pfeiffer spoke with Weston Town Manager Donna VanderClock, who said it’s been “very frustrating” dealing with NStar, and that she was unable to get a return call from the town’s NStar liaison.

Sacha also spoke with NStar spokesman Mike Durand, who said the utility has received “widespread acclaim from many towns” about its improved storm-response system. Durand said NStar is working “night and day” to get power restored, thanks to the efforts of 1,200 contract workers and 3,000 NStar employees. Hear the back-to-back interviews here:

Sacha also spoke with National Grid of Massachusetts President Marcy Reed, who said National Grid has gotten “fabulous feedback,” including from Plymouth and Andover:

6:45 p.m.: “Let’s start talking about a 21st-century electrical grid that serves the customers and is able to withstand 21st-century weather conditions.” That’s from Worcester’s city manager, who’s upset at National Grid’s power restoration response so far. WBUR’s Deborah Becker has more on town officials’ thoughts in her All Things Considered piece.

5 p.m.: As utilities continue to work on power restoration, WBUR’s Andrea Shea paid a visit this afternoon to NStar’s “war room” in Dorchester:

(Andrea Shea/WBUR)

(Andrea Shea/WBUR)

4:10 p.m.: The president of National Grid in Massachusetts, Marcy Reed, told our Newscast unit that after power is returned to critical customers like hospitals and fire departments, then the company will increase attention to its residential customers:

You might say the rural areas get further down the list, but it’s not as clear-cut. We could have some large sub-transmission in our 413 area code or up north in 508, and they will be addressed just along with everyone else.

3:35 p.m.: MEMA has tips for what to do after Sandy has passed. (H/T Rep. Niki Tsongas)

2:50 p.m.: The post-Sandy cleanup continues across Massachusetts. Here, in this AP photo, workers use chainsaws to cut up a tree that fell on power lines in Andover:

(Elise Amendola/AP)

(Elise Amendola/AP)

Here’s our latest write-through on today’s Sandy news.

2:30 p.m.: From MEMA, the latest statewide outage tally is 235,000:

1 p.m: The Associated Press has this, about air travel in and out of Boston:

Boston’s Logan International Airport is expected to resume normal operations by midday, but there will be continued flight disruptions resulting from problems caused elsewhere by Sandy.

11:35 a.m.: “We were lucky on this one.” That was Sen. John Kerry, at the MEMA bunker in Framingham earlier today, speaking with WBUR’s Martha Bebinger. As we continue to monitor the death toll, flooding and damage in New York and elsewhere, it’s hard to argue.

Here’s his full quotation:

Downed trees, we’ve got people without power, we’ve got about a hundred folks in shelters, about 22 shelters. But by and large, we, you know, we’ve taken our brunt of storms in the past, we were lucky on this one.

And despite hundreds of thousands of power outages and downed trees statewide, Gov. Deval Patrick also said Massachusetts dodged a bullet:

We feel very fortunate there have been no reports of serious injury, no reports of serious infrastructure damage.

9:55 a.m.: WBUR’s Kathleen McNerney reports that Massachusetts Task Force 1, an urban search and rescue team based in Beverly, has been deployed to help with rescue efforts in New York City. The team was originally deployed to New Haven, Conn., where they were expected to help handle evacuations. Mark Foster, with the task force, says at this point he is unsure what their assignment will be once in NYC.

9:45 a.m.: The MBTA says all service is back to normal (including ferries and commuter rail) with one exception: buses will replace the Green Line D branch from Riverside to Newton Highlands through the end of service Tuesday due to “significant wire and pole damage.”

8:25 a.m.: According to MEMA, approximately 290,000 are now without power across Massachusetts, down from over 320,000 at 5:45 a.m.:

7:55 a.m.: Incredible photos are coming in this morning of the devastation in New York City. Here’s one of seawater flooding a construction site at Ground Zero:

(John Minchillo/AP)

(John Minchillo/AP)

More photos of the damage up and down the East Coast can be found here.

7:40 a.m.: WBUR’s Bob Oakes spoke this morning with Marcy Reed, president of National Grid of Massachusetts, about power restoration efforts.

She said today is “all about detailed damage assessment” and once the utility gets an idea of the damage, they will then start letting customers know when they can expect their power to be restored. To find out your “estimated time of restoration,” Reed urges customers to check the National Grid outage map (if you have Internet connection) or text “STORM” to NGRID (64743) for updates.

At last check, nearly 215,000 National Grid customers were without power.

6:50 a.m.: The Associated Press reports that New York was among the hardest hit by the storm that left at least 16 people dead in seven states and cut power to more than 7.4 million homes and businesses:

An unprecedented 13-foot surge of seawater – 3 feet above the previous record – gushed into Gotham, inundating tunnels, subway stations and the electrical system that powers Wall Street, and sent hospital patients and tourists scrambling for safety. Skyscrapers swayed and creaked in winds that partially toppled a crane 74 stories above Midtown.

6:40 a.m.: While the worst seems to be over here in Massachusetts, a coastal flood advisory remains in effect until 1 p.m. today and a wind advisory is in effect until 7 p.m. For county-by-county advisories, click here.

6:30 a.m.: Another MBTA update: all boat service remains suspended until further notice. Check all service updates/alerts here.

6:15 a.m.: Here’s meteorologist Mark Rosenthal, with his forecast from 6 a.m.:

6:12 a.m.: WBUR’s Martha Bebinger, reporting from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency bunker in Framingham, says that officials aren’t offering specific predictions but are hoping that all power will be back on by the end of the week.

Here are the up-to-date outage maps from NStarNational GridUnitil and WMECO.

5:45 a.m., Tuesday: Hundreds of thousands across Massachusetts are waking up this morning with no power. At last count, over 320,000 customers are still without power.

MBTA service has resumed as of 5 a.m. with a couple of exceptions:

  • Shuttle buses are replacing trains on the Green Line’s D branch between Riverside and the Newton Highland station.
  • The Providence/Stoughton line on the commuter rail will remain suspended between Mansfied and Wickford Junction due to downed trees and power lines.

Most flights in and out of Logan are still cancelled this morning and Amtrak service in the northeast is still suspended.

Plenty of school closings as well — check for yours here.

10 p.m.: We’ll wrap this blog for the evening with a few updates. First, here’s meteorologist Mark Rosenthal:

The worst of this storm should be over by about 10 p.m. tonight, but still gusty winds and occasional showers will persist tomorrow. We have one more tide cycle to go through — that’s at midnight tonight — that could be moderate on Plum Island and Boston and perhaps more than that on Cape Cod.

– Here are the updated weather watches and warnings from the National Weather Service.

– A decision will be be made overnight as to whether the MBTA will reopen tomorrow morning, but T officials say they’re “cautiously optimistic” about reopening. (Gov. Deval Patrick added: “Electricity on the Providence line, which is shared with Amtrak, seems like it will be a problem right through commuting time tomorrow.”)

– All state offices will open at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.

– Boston schools (and city offices) will be open as normal tomorrow, but other schools remain closed tomorrow. See WCVB-TV’s list of closings and cancellations.

– And here are some links from NPR:

9:40 p.m.: As WBUR’s Dave Faneuf reported last hour:

A storm surge along the coast of Fairhaven, Westport and New Bedford is what’s concerning officials at this hour. Waves of up to six feet are expected to pound the coastline.

9:30 p.m.: The Associated Press reports:

State police said two people died in car crashes Monday, one in Peabody and one in Dartmouth, but the accidents do not appear to be storm-related. No other injuries were reported.

9:15 p.m.: MEMA reports that the total number of outages statewide is now 385,000 — the same number as last hour.

8:45 p.m.: WBUR’s Joe Spurr snapped photos in Scituate today. Here’s one:

(Joe Spurr/WBUR)

(Joe Spurr/WBUR)

8:30 p.m.: Boston Public Schools will be open tomorrow, the city just announced.

And according to State House News Service, Transportation Secretary Richard Davey reiterated that he’s “cautiously optimistic” about resuming MBTA service tomorrow.

8:05 p.m.: The AP pushes this alert:

Forecasters say the center of former Hurricane Sandy has made landfall along New Jersey coast.

7:35 p.m.: With outages climbing, power restoration crews will not be put into bucket trucks until winds are below 30 mph. Here’s Marcy Reed, National Grid’s president:

We do have about 520 crews on the ground in Massachusetts right now, working and waiting to work. These will be long-duration outages; we will have significant outages and we need to have people be safe and be patient while we’re working through it.

Reed expects that tomorrow crews will begin the assessment process and hopefully the major restoration effort.

7:05 p.m.: NOAA has released this animation of Sandy approaching the East Coast:

7 p.m.: According to the AP, part of the Tobin Bridge is currently closed:

Massachusetts transportation officials are closing the southbound side of the Tobin Bridge, U.S. Route 1, into Boston because of the possibility of construction materials blowing on the road.

The state Department of Transportation said Monday evening that tarps securing a construction site on that upper part of the bridge have come loose in high wind and workers cannot safely secure the materials until the wind subsides.

The outbound lower level of the bridge, the northbound section, remains open.

The DOT says it’s expected the inbound bridge will reopen at least by the Tuesday morning commute.

6:05 p.m.: Following Brown’s pulling out of the final U.S. Senate debate, due to Sandy, Elizabeth Warren’s campaign manager, Mindy Myers, has released this statement:

Elizabeth believes the focus now must be on public safety and ensuring people get the help they need during the storm and in its aftermath. With the concern for public safety and cleanup paramount, Elizabeth believes the debate should not be held tomorrow.

6 p.m.: The latest tally: Over 300,000 customers are without power statewide. (Outage maps – NStar, National Grid, Unitil, WMECO).

5:45 p.m.: Last hour, meteorologist Mark Rosenthal offered this forecast:

5:40 p.m.: With winds continuing at high levels, boats are coming free from their moorings in harbors along the coast.

And Coast Guard Petty Officer Robert Simpson told our Newscast unit that’s causing concern because the Coast Guard has to assume there is someone on board all those boats who needs help, and that’s putting rescue crews in danger.

“With the conditions so bad, with the weather we’re seeing, it’s well beyond some of the capabilities that we would normally get under way for, so we don’t want to unnecessarily put our crews into harm’s way,” Simpson said.

He said if a boat owner knows their vessel has broken free from a mooring, they should contact the nearest guard station to let them know, so a rescue operation isn’t launched.

(David Boeri/WBUR)

(David Boeri/WBUR)

5:15 p.m.: The total keeps climbing. It’s now estimated that more than 220,000 customers are without power across the state.

At right, WBUR’s David Boeri spots a convoy of trucks in Sturbridge.

5 p.m.: Radio Boston host Meghna Chakrabarti interviewed New England weather historian Michael Tougias, who said he sees parallels between Sandy and the Hurricane of 1938 and the Blizzard of 1978:

In 1938, the storm surge was incredible. A lot of people didn’t realize that the devastation went all the way into Vermont. The 1978 blizzard was stalled over New England, blocked by a high pressure system, just like Hurricane Sandy could be.

4:30 p.m.: Some breaking Sandy-related political news, from Sen. Scott Brown:

The Scott Brown campaign today announced that out of concern for the hardship faced by people in the path of Hurricane Sandy that he will not be participating in tomorrow’s fourth and final debate. It is simply not appropriate to go forward with a political debate when a disaster strikes. The focus for all of us before, during and after the storm needs to be on emergency response and disaster relief, not campaigns and politics.

That statement is from Colin Reed, Brown’s communications director. (Here’s the AP.)

4:20 p.m.: As WBUR’s Delores Handy just reported on our Newscast, the outages continue to rise. Currently, more than 170,000 customers are without power statewide. (Outage maps – NStar, National Grid, Unitil, WMECO). In addition, Gov. Deval Patrick told WBUR’s Martha Bebinger that he expects about eight more hours of strong winds.

4:20 p.m.: WBUR’s Tiffany Campbell has compiled this Storify of #MASandy tweets:

4:10 p.m.: Another one sent to our inbox, from Plymouth:

(Courtesy Terence O'Neill)

(Courtesy Terence O’Neill)

4:05 p.m.: Here’s a change, sent to our inbox with the subject line “Lulu keeps an eye on Sandy”:

(Courtesy Kenney family)

(Courtesy Kenney family)

4 p.m.: Gov. Deval Patrick and other state officials have just given a briefing from the MEMA bunker in Framingham. A few notes:

- No decisions have been made regarding closing state office buildings tomorrow.
– In addition to Dartmouth, Fall River has also ordered a mandatory evacuation for parts of the city.
– Very few folks so far are using shelters.

3:35 p.m.: A bystander covers up from being hit with wind and a crashing wave on Winthrop beach:

A bystander covers up from being hit with wind and a crashing wave on Winthrop beach Monday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

(Jesse Costa/WBUR)

3:20 p.m.: As the power outage numbers increase, there’s this quotation from Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan:

Customers do need to understand that while there are a lot of assets and resources on the ground, they will not be able to put the bucket trucks in the air until the heavy winds are over because it’s just an unsafe condition. So we need the winds to recede before the response can be made by the utility companies.

3:05 p.m.: Amending our 1:50 p.m. entry, the Blue Hill Observatory tweets that it’s now “observed a gust of over 68 mph.”

3 p.m.: The outages are starting to pile up now: over 120,000 statewide. (Outage maps – NStar, National Grid, Unitil, WMECO)

2:45 p.m.: Amtrak has closed Northeast Corridor service through Tuesday, as well. And the U.S. financial markets will remain closed Tuesday, too, the AP reports.

2:15 p.m.: Salesperson Jeremy Perry, 27, shows WBUR’s Andrea Shea the empty flashlight section at Swartz Hardware in Newton. Flashlights, D batteries and candles have been flying off the shelves, he said. The store ran out of flashlights on Saturday, and according to customers there are no flashlights to be found in a 20-mile radius.

Salesperson Jeremy Perry, 27, shows the now-empty flashlight section at Swartz Hardware in Newton Monday. (Andrea Shea/WBUR)

Salesperson Jeremy Perry, 27, shows the now-empty flashlight section at Swartz Hardware in Newton Monday. (Andrea Shea/WBUR)

2:10 p.m.: The Associated Press reports:

A mandatory evacuation has been ordered in the southeastern Massachusetts town of Dartmouth as Hurricane Sandy intensifies.

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency spokesman Peter Judge says officials ordered residents of several low-lying streets in the Bliss Corner neighborhood to leave their homes. A shelter was set up at the Council on Aging.

2 p.m.: As we mentioned earlier, the MBTA is now closed. Earlier, WBUR’s Curt Nickisch snapped this photo of commuters stacked up at South Station, looking to get home:

(Curt Nickisch/WBUR)

(Curt Nickisch/WBUR)

1:50 p.m.: WBUR’s Deborah Becker is at Blue Hills Observatory in Milton and says, so far, the highest wind gust clocked in the state is more than 50 miles per hour.

1:30 p.m.: Another dramatic photo from WBUR’s Jesse Costa in Revere, as police block Winthrop Parkway as waves crash against the sea wall:

Revere police block Winthrop Parkway as waves crash against the sea wall there. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Revere police block Winthrop Parkway as waves crash against the sea wall there. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

1:30 p.m.: As WBUR’s Bob Oakes just said on air, during our live Sandy special, we’re now up to about 46,000 power outages statewide.

1:30 p.m.: Here’s meteorologist Mark Rosenthal, with his forecast from noon:

1:10 p.m.: Remember that other news — the election? The presidential candidates have canceled campaign events, as have Sen. Scott Brown and challenger Elizabeth Warren.

President Obama just addressed the nation on Sandy, and had this to say on politics: “I’m not concerned about the election. I’m concerned about the families affected.”

And here’s Sen. John Kerry on politics taking a backseat to the storm: “Everybody is focused on public safety, everybody pulls together. You know, I think the campaigns go on hold. People just have to get the job done right now.”

Brown and Warren are scheduled to have their final debate tomorrow night.

1:05 p.m.: Here’s NOAA’s latest satellite image of Sandy (and county-by county hazards):

GOES -13 satellite image of Hurricane Sandy (NOAA)

GOES -13 satellite image of Hurricane Sandy (NOAA)

1 p.m.: We’ve got a lot more Sandy photos — from Massachusetts and elsewhere.

12:50 p.m.: WBUR’s Rachel Gotbaum sends in these photos from Chatham — high tide at the town’s fish pier and, below that, boarded-up stores:

Chatham's fish pier Monday (Rachel Gotbaum/WBUR)

Chatham’s fish pier Monday (Rachel Gotbaum/WBUR)

Boarded-up stores in Chatham Monday (Rachel Gotbaum/WBUR)

Boarded-up stores in Chatham Monday (Rachel Gotbaum/WBUR)

12:35 p.m.: WBUR’s Steve Brown is checking conditions in New Bedford. He reports:

New Bedford is getting set for the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy. Earlier Monday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ordered the hurricane barrier to New Bedford Harbor closed, sealing off the nation’s largest fishing port from the ravages of a storm surge. New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell says the city is prepared as can be.

“We have emergency vehicles pre-positioned throughout the city and we’ve taken a number of steps to secure areas along the water,” Mitchell said. He has strongly urged residents in the low-lying Clark’s Cove area in the south of the city to evacuate, although a mandatory evacuation order has not been issued. Mitchell says so far, not many people have left their homes.

“We have two shelters,” he said. “We have a few folks down the street at a church shelter. We’ve got a couple of people at a middle school so far, but we’ll see what happens tonight.”

The new mayor, who took office in January, is taking the storm in stride.

“New Bedford’s been through this before,” Mitchell said. “Although we’re in the Northeast, New Bedford, because it’s situated on the South Coast, at the head of the Gulf Stream, gets hurricanes. That means we’ve been through the exercise before and we know how to prepare for it.”

And they were preparing at a small strip mall near the entrance to the Clark’s Cove area. Barry Higginbottom and Ryan Snyder, of All Phase Glass of Oxford, were placing eight-by-four-foot sheets of fiber board over the windows of a Family Dollar store.

“We started boarding up stores at 9 a.m. [Sunday] morning, we had a two hour nap, and now we’re at it again,” said Higginbottom, who says the cost of boarding up an entire storefront is equal to what it would cost a business to replace a single pane of plate glass.

“If there are people inside, and the window breaks, they could get cut,” Snyder said. “There’s a big liability, that’s why they do it. It’s more for precaution.”

The city is now concerned about the storm intensifying. The next high tide in Buzzards Bay is around 8 p.m. Monday. Mitchell says if the city can get through that, they should be in good shape.

Barry Higginbottom, left, and Ryan Snyder board up a Family Dollar store near the Clark's Cove neighborhood in New Bedford on Monday. (Steve Brown/WBUR)

Barry Higginbottom, left, and Ryan Snyder board up a Family Dollar store near the Clark’s Cove neighborhood in New Bedford on Monday. (Steve Brown/WBUR)

12:25 p.m.: Statewide, power outages are beginning to accumulate. As of now, NStar is reporting more than 12,000 customers affected by outages. National Grid is reporting another 12,000 across Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

11:50 a.m.: Via the Space Science & Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, here’s an animated GIF of Sandy as it moves toward the East Coast.

11:45 a.m.: Now in Revere, WBUR’s Jesse Costa sends in this photo of the waves:

Revere Beach, mid-Monday morning (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Revere Beach, mid-Monday morning (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

11:45 a.m.: Hopefully you won’t have to deal with this, but here, from NPR, are six tips for feeding the family during a storm-related power outage.

11:35 a.m.: That’s a lot of color. Here’s the latest rainfall forecast graphic from NOAA:

Sandy rainfall forecast (NOAA)

Sandy rainfall forecast (NOAA)

11:10 a.m.: The New York Times put a Webcam atop its building to show Sandy rolling in.

11:05 a.m.: WBUR’s Jesse Costa snapped this photo from Boston’s Fan Pier:

Monday, 11 a.m.: So where’s Sandy? Well right now, she’s still well off the Mid-Atlantic coast. But as we all know, her effects are being felt well in front of her, all up the Eastern Seaboard. Here’s a rundown of Massachusetts’ latest Sandy-related headlines:

— Due to expected high winds, Greater Boston’s MBTA is suspending service at 2 p.m. today. The T is hoping it will be able to resume service for tomorrow morning’s commute.

— At this hour, several thousand customers are already without power in Eastern Massachusetts. See our resources inset above, or visit NStar or National Grid for those details.

— Several communities have issued voluntary evacuation recommendations, including Scituate, Lynn and New Bedford. Scituate Town Administrator Patricia Vinchesi told our newsroom earlier:

We’re encouraging folks in advance of noon high tide to go to higher ground or to shelter that’s open at the high school.

— About 1,000 Massachusetts National Guard members are mobilized to help with evacuations and debris removal. The guards members are stationed at various armories across the state, awaiting the governor’s orders.

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