Some shelters that opened for the powerful snow storm Monday and Tuesday remained open Wednesday as thousands of SouthCoast residents were still left without electricity.
Jean Armstrong said her home on High Street in Rochester has been without power since Monday and she prepared to stay another night at the shelter at the Council on Aging, 67 Dexter Lane. Armstrong, a volunteer with the COA, said she was brought to the center by the town ambulance because it was the only form of transportation the town had available at the time.
While the sun was out to help get rid of some of the snow on Wednesday, nearly 8,700 SouthCoasters were still without power by late afternoon, so shelters remained open. Towns with the most remaining outages at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday were Wareham (2,401 customers), Rochester (1,016) and Marion (951).
In Rochester, about 80 people passed through during the day Tuesday for food and to charge devices, Armstrong said, noting about a dozen people stayed overnight.
“We’ll be open as long as any Rochester resident needs a place to sleep because of no heat or power,” Armstrong said. The COA was preparing to serve lunch which was bratwurst soup, turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, hot dogs and grilled cheese.
At the Sister Rose House overflow shelter in New Bedford, Program Manager Ray Duarte said 34 guests stayed Tuesday night. The overflow shelter is allowed to set up 30 cots because of the occupancy permit, but other people can sit at tables.
The overflow shelter planned to open Wednesday night and the following nights unless the forecast changed, Duarte said. After 11:30 a.m., he reported that there were roughly 35 to 40 people frequenting the soup kitchen.
An email from the town of Mattapoisett Wednesday morning said the warming shelter at the Old Rochester Regional High School cafeteria would be open all day with staff available for Mattapoisett and Marion residents in need of assistance.
The Mattapoisett Council on Aging and Public Library were closed Wednesday.
According to Priscilla Ress at Eversource, power restoration is expected to be substantially complete in the New Bedford Region by midnight on Thursday.
“It’s clearly a devastating event and a devastating series of storms that have caused massive damage,” Ress said, adding crews have literally been working around the clock to restore power. Wednesday afternoon, she said there were about 900 crews focusing on Cape Cod and the South Shore.
“It’s the track of the storm, the strength of those winds and the vulnerability of the trees,” she noted. “Trees are the number one cause of outages.”
Wareham Health Inspector Patrick MacDonald said the the warming center at 48 Marion Road would try to stay open as long as people need access to heat and electricity.
The Fairhaven fire and police departments got power back around 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to Deputy Fire Chief Todd Correia, but were running on generators Tuesday morning.
The shelter at the Elizabeth Hastings Middle School in Fairhaven closed at 11 p.m. Tuesday with no occupants inside, the deputy chief said. He estimated about half a dozen people visited. The fire department offered transportation to the shelter to those in need and no one took the offer, however, the department provided assistance to some nurses to St. Luke’s Hospital, Correia said.
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