Hurricane Sandy blew through Falmouth yesterday with high winds and rain that knocked out power to almost half of the residents and canceled school for two days.
Power outages affected 48 percent of the 26,774 NStar customers at the height of the storm at about 5 PM last night, said Falmouth Fire Chief Mark D. Sullivan. As of this morning, there were still 6,456 customers without power—24 percent of the town.
Fallen tree limbs caused the damage, said Chief Sullivan, but Falmouth fared better than he had feared. “We were lucky that the weather subsided fairly quickly,” he said.
Chief Sullivan said the town opened the community shelter at Falmouth High School at 2 PM and eight people spent the night there. Most were elderly people who had medical conditions that required electricity, he said. There was also an out-of-town couple with two young children who spent the night at the shelter rather than at the waterfront accommodations they had reserved.
Chief Sullivan expected more issues would arise this morning as power returned to homes, and damage to individual homes became apparent.
The emergency operations center dealt with numerous calls for downed tree limbs, electrical fires and blocked roads, he said. The fire department coordinated with Falmouth Police, Department of Public Works and NStar to respond from the emergency operations center, which closed this morning.
Falmouth Police Lieutenant Brian L. Reid said NStar did a commendable job working with the town to respond to power outages and prioritizing service calls.
It was certainly frightening, but I think the town was well-prepared and the utility company was very well prepared.
Police Lt. Brian Reid
“It was certainly frightening, but I think the town was well-prepared and the utility company was very well prepared,” Lt. Reid said.
Beyond the typical storm-related calls, Falmouth Police responded to a breaking and entering at Waquoit Tobacco, two domestic disturbances and dozens of home alarms.
Going forward, Lt. Reid advised residents to be cautious of high tides over the next few cycles because the storm surge has not yet receded.
This morning power was still out on Teaticket Highway at the Jones Road and Maravista Avenue Extensions intersections.
Falmouth Hospital lost power from the grid for most of yesterday, said Cape Cod Healthcare spokesman Robin Lord, but generators provided power for the entire hospital without interruption.
High wind gusts were measured at 75 miles per hour throughout Cape Cod, said meteorologist Frank O’Laughlin of Marstons Mills.
In Falmouth, sustained winds measured in the mid-60-mile-per-hour range at the 262-foot-high hub of the Notus Wind Turbine in Falmouth Technology Park, said owner Daniel H. Webb. The turbine is designed to shut down automatically when wind speeds exceed certain conditions, he said.
Hurricane Sandy At A Glance (Falmouth)
Max Sustained Wind: 48 mph
Peak Wind Gust: 72 mph
Rainfall: .77 inches
Power Outages: 48 percent of the 26,774 NStar customers lost power during the storm
Falmouth Wastewater Superintendent Gerald C. Potamis said there were no issues with the town turbines. One turbine was still running at 6:30 last night, he said, but was still providing power to the wastewater treatment plant. There was no emergency shut down necessary, only an environmental shut down, he said.
Falmouth Public Schools closed yesterday and today for the storm, leading to an unexpected four-day weekend for students.
Trash pickup was suspended at 11 AM yesterday. What was not collected yesterday will be picked up today. The rest of the week is on the normal trash pickup schedule.
High tides caused damage in some areas of the shore. High tide yesterday morning at the Eel Pond Bridge was about a foot and a half below the bottom of the bridge. It was the highest bridge tender Michael Botelho had ever seen the water level in his 15 years on the job.