The approach of Hurricane Sandy has led officials in Adams and North Adams to declare a state of emergency in both communities effective at noon on Monday.
North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright and Adams Town Administrator Jonathan Butler both issued press releases Sunday afternoon offering details for residents on school closures, emergency shelters and where to find updates during the expected storm.
"It is anticipated that this storm will not bring the flooding rain that we saw with Hurricane Irene," Alcombright said in the release. "However, this storm will be bringing significant wind and has potential for property damage and power outages."
All North Adams Public Schools will be closed Monday and Tuesday, and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts has also canceled classes for those days. In the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District, schools will be closed both days as well. Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School has called off Monday classes.
Clarksburg Elementary School will be closed Monday, and Gabriel Abbott Memorial School in Florida will be closed Monday and Tuesday. Mount Greylock Regional School District and Williamstown Elementary School will be closed Monday.
Gov. Deval Patrick has recommended that the state's schools remain closed on Monday.
The Berkshire Food Project in North Adams will be closed Monday and Tuesday. Halloween has been tentatively rescheduled for Friday from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Emergency shelters have been established in both communities, with the city sending people to St. Elizabeth's Parish Center starting at noon Monday, and Adams directing residents to the Adams Visitors Center, also opening at noon on Monday.
"Any residents with power outages, damage or any other reason that must leave their homes are welcome to report to the shelter," Butler said in the news release. "People should bring with them food, water and all other essential supplies, including hygienic items and medications. People are encouraged not to bring their pets, but if they must, they can be housed across the street at the Adams Fire District. All pets must have food and be crated, or else we will not be able to house them."
Williamstown Town Manager Peter Fohlin said Sunday at a meeting with residents of The Spruces Mobile Home Park that a group decision would be made Monday at a noon meeting at the park on whether opening a shelter was needed.
In North Adams, all city offices will be open Monday and all public safety and services personnel are on call and will be available throughout the event, according to the release. Residents are advised to not park on city streets during the storm.
Butler said Adams will close the Town Hall, library and Council on Aging for all non-emergency personnel.
Adams residents needing assistance with any storm damage should call the Adams Police Department at 413-743-1212. In North Adams, those experiencing flooding, downed power lines or downed trees are asked to call the North Adams Fire Department at 413-664-4922 or 413-664-4933. If a North Adams resident needs to be evacuated, has a "non-emergency" medical concern or needs home oxygen, they can call the North Adams Ambulance Service at 413-664-4933. The mayor stated that those with emergency situations should call 911.
For the most current local information, officials in both communities are directing residents to local media outlets including the North Adams Transcript website and Facebook, iBerkshires, WNAW, WUPE and Time Warner Channel 22. Radio reporting updates at 21 and 51 minutes after the hour.
Updates will also be posted on the Facebook pages of both communities' police departments, as well as on both Alcombright's and Butler's Facebook pages.
The CodeRED emergency alert system will be used throughout the storm to provide updates in both communities.
The mayor also noted that National Grid is "fully prepared to handle any power outages." Should power go out, it won't be restored until after the storm, Alcombright said, cautioning residents to be prepared for significant power outages.
"This storm should be fully upon us late Monday afternoon and we can expect high sustained winds throughout the night subsiding by Tuesday morning," Alcombright said in the release. "The result of those winds is the unknown and we should all be prepared for an extended cleanup as well as a possible extended power outage. ... Stay well away from any downed power lines and stay indoors throughout the duration of this storm."