SALISBURY -- The town's police chief is urging residents to practice patience after Thursday morning's snow storm left thousands without power.

"Basically the entire town is without power," Chief Thomas Fowler said. "That is pretty much the entire Merrimack Valley, not just Salisbury."

Fowler was part of a conference call with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency as well as with National Grid Thursday afternoon and said while the electric company is doing "all they can" to restore power, they are still predicting a multi-day event.

"Their priority is public safety first," Fowler said. "They are addressing any live wires, which are a hazard first, assessing the damage and developing a plan for restoration."

Fowler said the Hilton Senior Center at 43 Lafayette Road is available as a warming center where people will also be able to charge up their mobile devices. By late afternoon, officials decided to keep senior center open all night as a shelter.

The Salvation Army at 40 Water St. in Newburyport and PITA Hall on Plum Island were also open as shelters for anyone who needed them.

No arrests and no major damage at Salisbury Beach had been reported by late Thursday afternoon according to Fowler who said most people have taken the blackout in stride.

"So far, so good," Fowler said. "My experience is, as these things carry on, sometimes people's tempers can get shorter. We are just asking people to bear with us and with National Grid and have some understanding. National Grid are doing their job as best they can and this was a serious storm that resulted in serious damage."

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