When the city sent out a CodeRED alert at 11:30 a.m. on Monday encouraging the residents of Wheel Estates Mobile Home Park to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Sandy, the DeRosambeau family of Apache Drive didn't hesitate to pack up some belongings and head to the emergency shelter at St. Elizabeth's Parish Center.
"We used to live in Florida and down there, mobile homes are protected from flipping over," Arthur DeRosambeau said Monday afternoon. "The mobile homes up here are just sitting on cement blocks. I tried to shore up the house the best I could before we left."
DeRosambeau, his wife, Linda, their grandson, Nathan Shute, and his 3-year-old daughter, Pamela, arrived at the emergency shelter a little after 12:30 p.m.
"Our son lives in Ware and we were thinking of heading there, but it's just as bad," Linda DeRosambeau said.
While the family was setting up cots for the night, other residents from Wheel Estates were beginning to show up. Many residents of the 200 units were hesitant to leave their homes, but they began arriving after the officers from the North Adams Police Department came up to the park to evacuate residents at 4:15 p.m. As of 7 p.m., there were 10 residents from Wheel Estates and two other city residents at the shelter.
The city declared a state of emergency Monday at noon, which is in effect until further notice. There is no parking on city streets while it is effect. Sandy was downgraded to a posttropical cyclone by the National Weather
While rain and high winds from Hurricane Sandy held off until mid-afternoon, the city began receiving calls about downed trees as early as 11 a.m. The city's fire and police departments, along with the Department of PublicWorks crews, responded to about 15 downed tree or wire reports by 6:30 p.m., including a tree that fell into a house on Notch Road.
Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said power outages had been reported in several parts of the city - on the Mohawk Trail and Rock, Peeble, Furnace, and Francis streets, as well as on Notch and Reservoir roads - as a result of high winds knocking trees into wires. He said National Grid was responding to outages as quickly as possible.
"At this time our local resources are able to handle things. Everyone is out working or checking situations at this time," the mayor said.
However, the unpredictable nature of the storm was making planning hard for the city's emergency team.
"We probably won't know what we're looking at fully until [Tuesday] morning," the mayor said. "We're just looking to sustain ourselves through the night, as the winds are expected to continue."
The mayor said that even though flood warnings had been issued, emergency personnel were more concerned with wind damage than flooding.
"The rain shouldn't be too significant, as the ground can stand it," Alcombright said. "Our rivers, brooks and streams are way down. There's a lot of volume that can be taken by them. We didn't have to drain our reservoirs, as they were already down. When Irene hit last year, we had a lot of rain, while the eastern end of the state had a lot of wind damage. I think we're seeing something similar to that tonight."
The North Adams Public Schools - Brayton, Greylock and Sullivan elementary and Drury High School - remain closed today.
City offices will open today at 11 a.m., including City Hall, the North Adams Public Library and the Mary Spitzer Center.
In Clarksburg, the town Highway Department was working in tandem with the town fire and police departments, clearing trees from the road as needed, Town Administrator Tom Webb said Monday night.
The town declared a state of emergency at noon on Monday, which remains in effect until further notice. Webb said town offices should be open today, but a decision would be made in the morning based on the storm.
Clarksburg Elementary School remains closed today, and the town has rescheduled trick or treat for Friday, from 5 to 7 p.m. A breakfast scheduled for this morning at the Senior Center has been canceled.
The town set up an emergency operations center at the Clarksburg Fire Station, which was open throughout the night and had prepped for an emergency shelter at the town's senior center. However, as of 7 p.m., the shelter had not been opened.
"Our residents have the ability to go to the shelter at St. Elizabeth's Parish Center, as it's acting as a regional shelter as well," Police Chief Michael Williams said. He said the only major storm-related calls had been for fallen trees.
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, email email@example.com.