GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

February 10, 2013

Update: Gloucester cancels school Monday; Coastal houses, Bearkskin Neck hard hit

By Times Staff
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Some 24 hours after the departure of a fierce, historic two-day blizzard, residents across Cape Ann today are digging out from between 20 and 24 inches of snow while officials are assessing pockets of heavy damage in parts of Gloucester and Rockport.

And Gloucester officials confirmed this afternoon that it’s clear there’s much more cleanup to be done.

After consultation with public works, public safety and school officials, including Superintedent Richard Safier, Mayor Carolyn Kirk said today that there will be no school tomorrow for Gloucester’s public schools. The superintendent was set to issue a similar announcement to school families this afternoon.

“While main roads are passable, there are many secondary, remote and deadend roads which may require special equipment such as back hoes for snow operations,” Kirk said in a “Code Red” annoncement. “Special equipment resources are limited and it will take through today and tomorrow to reach some areas.”

The city’s parking ban is being lifted at 8 p.m. tonight, Kirk announced, while Gloucester’s trash pickups for Monday and throughout the week will be carried ut as scheduled.

“However,” she added, “Streets are narrow due to the volume of snow, and we are asking residents to keep roads as clear as possible due to ongoing snow operations. Residents are reminded that it is against the law to place snow in city streets.”

Kirk also remindewd residents that, if their vehicle is parked in a school parking lot, it must be removed by 6 a.m. Monday so thay the lots can be cleared.

“IfF you are in a municipal lot,” Kirk sad, “meters will not be enforced until Tuesday at the earliest.”

DPW will be taking calls from residents regarding street conditiins and issues 4 p.m. today, then will resume doing so tomorrow during normal business hours. The number for DPW is 978-281-9785.

Officials are continuing to address a wide range of issues in the wake of the storm.

In Gloucester, Saturday morning’s storm surge forced the evacuation of residents of at least one home at the end of Salt Island Road. According to a neighbor, a large wave spawned by the surge struck at one of the upper floors of the home, smashing out the windows and sending water cascading down through the interior of the house.

There were no reports of any injuries; in fact, there have been no reports of any injuries throughout the storm, which began in earnest on Friday and, by Friday night and Saturday morning, was packing wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour and snow falling at the rate of 3-4 inches per hour.

The storm also dealt heavy damage to the seawall at Lane’s Cove and ravaged the Good Harbor Beach footbridge off Atlantic Road, while also downing a number of trees and wires.

In Rockport, local emergency officials and a crew from the National Guard are assessing damage along Front Beach, and on Bearskin Neck, where several shops and buildings sustained heavy damage. The town’s selectmen had declared a state of emergency for the town on Friday, allowing Town Administrator Linda Sanders to call in additional personnel and call for additional aid if needed. The declaration also made Rockport eligible for federal emergency assistance, and a National Guard reportedly arrived on scene this morning.

Despite the high winds and hearvy snow, however, Cape Ann emerged in better shape than much of Eastern Massachusetts when it came to power outages stemming from the wrath of the Superstorm Nemo, named by the Weather Channel in an effort to recognize and name winter storms that can approach hurricane force.

Mayor Kirk and Police Chief Leonard Campanello, in his role as the city’s emergency operations chief and public information officer, indicated Saturday night that the city had, at that point, had roughly 1,000 National Grid customers without power at the height of the storm — fewer than during Superstorm Sandy last October and far fewer than the nearly 4,000 that were out for, in some cases, more than 48 hours during a two-day post-Christmas storm of 2010.

Also, the Massachusetts Bay Transportion Authority announced it will not resume service today; the MBTA is hoping to have its full services, including the Rockport/Newburyport commuter rail line serving Rockport, Gloucester, West Gloucester and Manchester, Monday morning, though that has not yet been confirmed.

We will further update this story here at gloucestertimes.com as more information becomes available. To have text updatdes regarding the storm’s aftermath and other breaking news coverage sent to your mobile phone, just sign up for the Times free text-alert service on the gloucestertimes.com homepage. For more up-to-date coverage, follow the TImes news team on Facebook and via Twitter.com @gdtnews.

For full Cape Ann storm coverage, look to tomorrow’s sprint and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com.