Nor’easter Recovery Efforts Continue on Cape Cod; Power Restoration Main Focus

HYANNIS – The Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee activated a limited shelter plan Saturday and Eversource continued working to restore power to tens-of-thousands after a Nor’easter tore across the Cape and Islands.

While the rain had come to an end by early Saturday, strong winds gusting to 50 mph still hampered utility restoration.

Eversource began making progress during the afternoon, but more than 60,000 customers were still in the dark by early evening.

“We’re making steady progress despite the continued high winds, additional damage, and the difficult conditions our crews are working in,” said Eversource Vice President of Electric Field Operations Doug Foley.

“This storm was extremely destructive, bringing down thousands of trees across the region, making it difficult for crews to travel to locations where work needs to be done. Being there for our customers when they need us means continuing to work 24/7 until everyone has their power back on,” he said.

Eversource spokesman Mike Durand said crews that were not able to make repairs in bucket trucks because of the high winds spent time on the ground clearing debris in preparation of making repairs.

The utility has warned that restoring power to everyone on Cape Cod could be a “multi-day event.”

“There are going to be several individual outage cases that will require a lot of work to restore power to smaller numbers of customers,” said Durand.

Shelters were opened at the Barnstable Intermediate School in Hyannis, Falmouth High School and Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Harwich.

“The restoration is going slower than expected, so people who need shelter can find it at the three regional shelters,” said Regional Emergency Planning Committee Chairman Kevin Morley.

The areas we are opening are the areas on the Cape where local police and fire departments expressed that this would a good thing for us to do,” said Morley.

Coastal damage around the Cape was extensive.

A fishing boat broke loose in Provincetown and ended up on the rocks. Nauset Beach in Orleans saw extreme erosion, with waves lapping up near Liam’s Restaurant.

The north parking lot of Herring Cove was pummeled again, leaving not much to what had already been damaged in previous storms.

Large trees were uprooted in many areas and some homes sustained roof damage.

Governor Charlie Bakerdeclared a state of emergency to helpexpedite the use of Commonwealth resources throughout the recovery process.

Declaring a state of emergency will allow the deployment of federal and interstate resources, if required, to provide necessary assistance in the Commonwealth’s emergency response and what is anticipated to be a prolonged recovery effort.

The declaration will also permit the state to request and receive mutual aid assistance from other states through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact if deemed necessary.

There is no statewide travel ban associated with the declaration, though some municipalities have instituted their own restrictions.

On Thursday, Governor Baker signed an order to activate the National Guard to assist local police and fire departments with evacuation and rescue efforts.

The National Guard mobilized 53 vehicles to various cities, towns and strategic locations throughout Eastern Massachusetts.

Governor Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito planned to tour storm-damaged areas on the South Shore Sunday.

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth released a statement that said the facility, “remained a safe, reliable, andsecure source of power for the New England grid during the most recent winter storm.”

Pilgrim has been forced to shut down in previous strong storms.

Spokesman Patrick O’Brien said station personnel began storm preparations days ago — topping off critical fuel supplies, removing items that could become airborne, working with Eversource and ISO New England to ensure the reliability of our offsite power sources, and establishing storm coverage to ensure adequate plant staffing.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said the midnighthigh tide Saturday could bring minor to moderate coastal floodingstorm.

Seas with a combined swell and wind wave remain near 20 feet just offshore. Minor coastal flooding may linger intoSunday.

By MATT PITTA, DAVID BEATTY and JAY ROGERS

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