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Charlestown, Hopkinton and Richmond all impacted by storm

November 2, 2012

Just in time for Halloween, Hurricane Sandy, dubbed by many as “Frankenstorm,” wreaked havoc on Charlestown, Richmond, Hopkinton and the whole of Rhode Island.

Southern Rhode Island felt the brunt of the storm, as many were still without power Wednesday afternoon.
“As of right now, about 65 percent of the town is without power,” said Ron MacDonald, Hopkinton’s Emergency Management director.

As waves battered coastal areas, including the coast of Charlestown, Hopkinton and Richmond authorities primarily dealt with downed trees, which often became tangled in power lines or blocked roads.
Hopkinton Police Chief David Palmer said that about 10 roads became impassable due to the storm, but as of Wednesday afternoon all roads were passable.

Palmer and MacDonald said that they are working with National Grid and the Hopkinton Public Works Department to clear downed trees and debris and ultimately restore power.

“Public works can’t cut trees until National Grid checks on the powerlines,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald said there were no injuries due to the storm.

“I think we fared pretty well because we’re not on the coast,” MacDonald said. “Everyone heeded warnings that were given and thankfully no one was hurt.”

Sandy also toppled trees in Richmond causing widespread power outages.

“The majority of what we experienced were power outages,” said Elwood Johnson, chief of Richmond Police.

At the beginning of the storm, Richmond Police responded to reports of down trees, but after a falling tree limb struck a department vehicle, the department limited responses to life safety calls only, Johnson said.

According to Steve Sette, Richmond town administrator, there was no severe structural damage in Richmond, though a few vehicles were struck by falling tree limbs.

As of Wednesday afternoon, about 1,600 Richmond residents, about 60 percent, were still without power, according to Sette.

Some customers had power restored since Tuesday, when more than 70 percent were without power, which Sette attributed to work that required shutting off part of the grid.

“This is partly because the Route 138 business district had power throughout the storm and at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning was taken off grid so National Grid could work on lines down on Route 112, which goes to the main transmission source for power in that area,” Sette said of why so many customers were without power.

Sette said that the Town of Richmond was prepared for Sandy.

“It was probably what we expected we would see with wind and rain,” Sette said. “We had some experience from Tropical Storm Irene but this one, the way it came in and what it did bringing trees down was a little more surprising. The winds were more sustained and caused more power outages as
a result.”

Despite the storm’s force, Sette said no injuries were reported in Richmond.

Charlestown was perhaps the hardest hit of the Chariho region, with about 75 to 80 percent of customers still without power Wednesday afternoon, according to Charlestown Police Chief Jeff Allen.

“National Grid is working extremely hard,” Allen said of what’s being done to restore power. “There are crews in from Illinois and more people coming from Washington State, as well everyone is working very hard around the clock.”

During the storm, the Charlestown shoreline was bashed by waves leading to significant beach erosion and property damage.

“It has completely changed the landscape of our beaches versus how they used to look,” Allen said of erosion caused by Sandy.

He also said that there was “significant” property damage to homes and businesses on Charlestown Beach Road and Surfside Avenue.

Allen would not provide a monetary estimate for the amount of damage, only saying that is “probably well within the millions.”

As many southern Rhode Islanders are still in the dark, the damage left in Sandy’s wake has also caused Gov. Lincoln Chafee to urge trick-or-treaters to use caution during Halloween celebrations, due to hazards posed by debris in roadways, fallen trees and downed power lines.

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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