Hingham officials are preparing for what could be a fearsome storm as Hurricane Sandy inches toward New England.
So far, the town has mobilized several departments, checking equipment that will be needed for flooding and tree damage, and renting more equipment if the storm hits.
“Our expectation that the damage we will have to deal with will be predominately tree damage,” Town Administrator Ted Alexiades said. “We will have some flood damage, but we have pumps to do that already, but trees will be a problem for us, so [Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant] and DPW have tree crews mobilized.
"We don’t know if the storm is going to hit, but if it doesn’t, we will have those crews do tree work anyway. We’re not losing anything by ramping up ahead of time for this potential issue.”
The town has also verified that all tide gates are working in case of a storm surge.
Residents, too, should start to make preparations for the storm, said Fire Chief Mark Duff, who is the emergency management director for the town.
“I could be very serious. We just got off a conference call with the state, and the weather service is very concerned,” Duff said. “People need to be prepared with water and 72 hours of food and medications they need ...
“It could be a very serious storm and it could be a long duration storm. When it gets up to the Massachusetts area, it will increase in size. Normally, with a hurricane you’re talking a 10-hour event, this could be a 24-hour event or longer,” Duff said.
Though Duff said he was mainly concerned about downed tree and power outage issues, due to expected flooding, residents in coastal areas should be on high alert.
“In the conference call, they are talking about flooding in inner Boston Harbor,” Duff said. “Not talking beaches facing Nantasket, Scituate, Revere…if the storm surge is in inner Boston Harbor, then areas along Crow Point where people are living on the coastline in Hingham need to be concerned.”
Right now, the storm is expected to affect Hingham around Sunday into Monday, carrying into Tuesday.
Duff said he was still coordinating emergency shelter plans.
“We’re starting to put them together now. I haven’t heard if there will be a shelter. Typically the Red Cross opens regional shelters…generally if we have to shelter people we recommend first going to a regional shelter and we’ll deal with our own basis,” he said.