Gloucester police and fire crews are responding to a house on Washington Street just north of Grant Circle, where a tree has crashed onto the roof of a house in the face of the winds from Hurricane Sandy.
The call, reported from a neighboring home on Veterans Way, came at around 12:45 p.m., and is among the first damaging effects of the storm. There are also reports that a utility pole has crashed onto a car on the city’s Back Shore as well.
Gloucester police have reopened parts of Atlantic Road to single-lane traffic with the passing of high tide at midday, but the stepped-up winds and rain from Hurricane Sandy are expected to increase later today and tonight, with the storm itself expected to make landfall around Atlnatic City, N.J., this evening.
Gloucester’s police chief is also urging residents to stay off the shoreline.
Chief Leonard Campanello said police are detouring traffic coming onto Atlantic Road from Eastern Point Boulevard down Grapevine Road. It is a one-way closure, Campanello said. The city has also cordoned off Magnolia Pier.
“We are urging residents to stay out of harms way on the coast,” said Campanello.
In Essex, town officials were expecting flooding along the Main Street Causeway at high tide as well. Cape Ann is designated as being on alert for “moderate” coastal flooding as the storm picks up and high tides arrive at midday throughout the area again around midnight tonight. Town officials also said they expect to close the Causeway when flooding occurs.
The Essex Causeway and parts of Gloucester’s Atlantic Road are not the only transportation closures due to Sandy’s arrival, which is expected to bring wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour later today and through tonight.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said it will suspend all service, including commuter rail service to and from Cape Ann, at 2 p.m. The MBTA has not yet announced a target time – likely tomorrow — for the resumption of service. Amtrak has shut down all of its service, including the Acela trains, along the Northeast Corridor until further notice as well.