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Officials foresee long recovery after early storm

Schools cancel classes, shelter now open at Tantasqua

South Shore Drive residents work together with chainsaws to move a downed tree. Joy Richard. (click for larger version)
November 01, 2011
STURBRIDGE — Following a historic autumn snowstorm that left more than 3 million people in the northeast without power, some residents aren't expected to have electricity restored for at least two or three more days.

It didn't take long after the storm arrived on Saturday, Oct. 29, for trees and branches to start cracking under the weight of heavy wet snow. Members of the Sturbridge Police Department and the Department of Public Works responded to several calls reporting downed trees and power lines on Saturday night, and roads quickly became treacherous as the night wore on.

By Sunday morning, more than 95 percent of the town was in the dark and most roads were impassable, with many trees and branches falling on Brookfield Road, New Boston Road, River Road, Cedar Street, Farquhar Road, Routes 20 and 131, and dozens of other roads.

"Just about every road in town had either a tree or large branches on it," said Police Chief Thomas Ford III. "There were many power lines down, and roads were very difficult to travel."

Officials from the Red Cross established an emergency shelter at Tantasqua Regional High School on Sunday, and 42 residents sought refuge from an unseasonably cold night at the school. According to Alison Rupert, of the Central Massachusetts Red Cross, even more people were expected to visit the shelter on Monday and Tuesday nights due to cold overnight temperatures.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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