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October 26, 2012

Forecasters fear another 'perfect storm'

(Continued)

“If it goes to the north of us, we’re going to get flooding, extensive winds, heavy downpours and the impact is much greater with the wind velocity,” Howard said. “If it goes to the south of us, we’d end up with beach erosion and flooding, but much less precipitation and wind speed.”

The storm is already drawing comparisons to The Perfect Storm that ravaged New England in late-October of 1991, due to the two storms’ strength and timing. Sandy is expected to impact the area on Monday, almost 21 years to the day after The Perfect Storm hit.

Howard said officials from Newbury and Newburyport are monitoring the storm’s track and are working together to prepare for its arrival. The metal ramps that lead out to the beaches on Plum Island have already been removed and the Department of Public Works has cleared storm drains.

Nearby in New Hampshire, state officials issued an emergency alert urging residents to stock up on emergency supplies and plan on potentially enduring several days without power.

Howard echoed that sentiment, adding that residents should assist their neighbors and bring all lawn furniture inside to reduce the risk of flying debris causing damage.

“The quickest way to get broken windows is to leave stuff in your yard,” Howard said.

Meanwhile, National Grid is developing crew assignments, preparing its workers and readying equipment so that it can respond as efficiently as possible in the face of widespread power outages.

“We have tracked Sandy very closely over the past several days, and preparedness plans are being developed to make sure our crews are ready to respond as quickly and safely as possible,” said Kathy Lyford, National Grid’s vice president of electric operations in New England. “We are leaving nothing to chance; we’re preparing for the worst.”

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