The American Red Cross has opened a shelter for North Shore residents in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy at Newbury Elementary School (63 Hanover Street).
According to Frederica Doeringer with the Red Cross of Northeastern Massachusetts based in Peabody, the shelter opened at 8 p.m. on Sunday night. Doeringer says that the spot was strategically chosen due to the voluntary evacuation of Plum Island.
Doeringer could not provide a specific number for how many people can fit in the shelter - which is stocked with food, cots, linens, and clothes for those who have to flee their homes in a hurry - but does not expect it to reach capacity. Pets are allowed at the shelter.
"We definitely anticipate that we will be able to meet the needs there, and if by some horrible circumstance that the storm is more severe than we anticipate, we will open other shelters," Doeringer said. "They may not be right in Newbury, but they will be in the area. We're also working with other cities and towns all along Cape Ann and the North Shore because some municipalities are going to be opening their own shelters and we're helping them whatever way we can."
Medical staff and mental health care providers will be on hand, according to Doeringer.
The Newbury shelter is one of seven shelters already opened by the Red Cross in Eastern Massachusetts, most of which are located on the South Shore, where the storm is expected to hit the hardest.
The list of shelters can be found on the Red Cross website here.
Ryan Mooney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mooney_ryan.