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Scituate schools are closed Tuesday and 1,900 customers without power as of Monday night

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  October 29, 2012 07:55 PM

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Photo courtesy of Twitter user @jpage1123

Parts of Cole Parkway under water after noon high tide in Scituate.

Scituate schools will be closed on Tuesday and about 1,900 National Grid customers were without power as of Monday night, the town said in its fifth storm advisory of the day.

"Downed wires will be cut and cleared tonight and restoration efforts will not start until Tuesday,'' the town statement said. "The Town Shelter remains open at Scituate High School.

High gusts, often unpredictable, were expected to continue at least through 10 pm. Town officials were also keeping a close eye on the next high tide, at midnight.

Earlier in the day, Scituate officials urged residents to stay away from the coastline, but some onlookers were not obeying the request.

According to Bob Gallagher, the keeper at Scituate lighthouse, the winds are steady at the tip of Lighthouse Road, and people aren't being very cautious.

"That’s the most frustrating part of this every time. People who come out and put their kids in danger," he said. "It makes you lose faith in people."

People have even been knocked over by the wind, with one person ended up in the water and needing to be helped out by friends.

Hopefully all the spectators will go home by midnight, when the storm's second high tide is expected to hit.

"I’ll pay attention. I never feel we’re in that much danger, it's an issue of the mess you’ll have to deal with after. And I feel some responsibility of people walking around, I feel like someone should be paying attention in case they need a 911 call. But the midnight storm I hope everyone stays home. if people are out here in the dark…they can be hurt terribly," Gallagher said.

Scituate officials have been urging residents to stay away from the coastline during Hurricane Sandy as high tide shifts and winds start to ramp up along the coast.

In a warning released in a mass email and on the town's website Monday morning, officials warned people from going down to the harbor to see the storm.

"The first initial impacts of Hurricane Sandy are affecting our coast line. Residents are cautioned to stay away from coastal areas and Scituate Harbor. Vehicular traffic impedes public safety responses and spectators are putting themselves in danger of sudden overwash and tidal surges which began an hour ago. (11:30 a.m.EST). Turner, Oceanside, Edward Foster, and Jericho Roads have been closed and other travel in the area is restricted," an alert said.

The warning follows a similar suggestion for coastal residents to evacuate their coastal homes on Monday morning.

According to Town Administrator Patricia Vinchesi, the town sent out reverse 911 calls to coastal residents Monday morning, strongly urging them to evacuate to another location or to the shelter at Scituate High School prior to the noon high tide.

The evacuation was suggested in an "overabundance of caution," Vinchesi said, as the winds were at 35-40 mph with gusts as of noon around 50 mph.

Despite the strong suggestions, most residents chose to wait things out.

“Most people are staying put I believe. I haven’t been over to the shelter yet but there were only a few there a while ago. Unfortunately, people won’t evacuate until their power goes out. That drives them from their homes more than the dangers, but we haven’t had any reports of any power outages for that matter. So far we’re just waiting to see what happens,” said Selectmen Chair Joseph Norton, who was working with the town administrator to handle the storm.

Although the sea has been churning since high tide, unlike the Nor’easter in December 2010, which broke through a seawall on Oceanside Drive, the seawalls during this storm have not been problematic

Regardless of the walls, water is slowly making its way over the seawalls down at Cedar Point, with waves crashing over the wall. Residents are also reporting that the water is accumulating at Edward Foster Road and in Cole Parkway.

More flooding is expected in the area, and wind will continue to play a role as the storm progresses, town officials said.

According to officials, the storm duration is expected for several hours and power outages are anticipated. Approximately 37 people were without power at 3 p.m.

For more information as things progress, visit the town website.

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