Jul 30, 2014
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Somerville Cleans Up After Sandy, Schools Open Wednesday, Halloween Happening

OnTuesday afternoon the city was evaluating damage.

Somerville Cleans Up After Sandy, Schools Open Wednesday, Halloween Happening

"We're as busy now as we were yesterday," said Thomas Champion, a spokesperson for the city of Somerville, speaking Tuesday afternoon about the community's efforts to clean up after Hurricane Sandy brought tropical-storm conditions to the area.

Somerville public schools, closed Tuesday, were scheduled to be open Wednesday, the city announced.

Trash pickups and parking restrictions were scheduled to proceed as normal on Wednesday, according to Champion. He said normal Halloween festivities and trick-or-treating would also take place on Wednesday.

Although there was serious damage to parts of Somerville, including knocked down trees and wires, power outages and flooding, the city was relatively lucky in terms of escaping major damage, Champion said.

He did not know the extent of the damage in terms of monetary value, but said the city was cataloguing and assessing damage to adhere to strict federal reporting guidelines. Likewise, it was assessing the cost to the city of the overall emergency response, which included things like overtime for police officers, firefighters and Department of Public Works crews, and supplies.

Somerville High School suffered "significant" damage during the storm, Champion said. The damage was mostly to the roof of the school's main building, which in turn caused water infiltration damage in places like the auditorium and cafeteria.

Damage to the high school was one reason officials cancelled public schools on Tuesday, Champion said. The Winter Hill Community School was without electrical power until about 3 a.m. Tuesday, he said, which was another reason.

Also, the MBTA was not able to guarantee complete service Tuesday morning, and with downed branches and wires, pathways to school were not deemed safe for students. (In Somerville, there are no school buses; students, young ones accompanied by parents, walk or ride to school on their own.)

"The prudent thing to do was to not open school," Champion said.

The roof of City Hall, over the aldermanic chambers, also experienced some damage, he said.

Champion said that with more rain in the forecast over the next several days, the city was leaving in place sandbags designed to prevent flooding at certain buildings.

Work crews were busy Tuesday picking up downed branches. Champion said that if branches fall into your yard, you should cut them up into three-feet-long sections and put them out on the curb for normal yard waste pickup.

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