Spared: Irene Goes Easy on North Andover
The storm that ravaged much of the east coast weakened considerably before reaching town.
Hurricane Irene barreled up the east coast Saturday and Sunday, causing several deaths and billions of dollars in damage from the Bahamas to Vermont, but the storm had weakened enough when it reached New England that North Andover emerged from it relatively unharmed.
"Nothing much has happened," Lt. Robert Bonenfant of the Fire Department said late Sunday afternoon as he and his fellow firefighters stood ready to respond to emergencies. "Some tree limbs down, some wires, that's about it."
By the time Hurricane Irene reached the Merrimack Valley, it had been downgraded to a tropical storm. Wind gusts got to near 50 miles per hour at times and heavy rain came in pockets, but the storm was a lot less severe than it could have been.
Debris and Power Outages
There were several tree limbs and wires down around town. At one point, police had to close off part of Sutton Street because of debris and wires.
Tree limbs, along with the wind, knocked power out for many people. At once point Sunday afternoon, nearly 2,000 National Grid customers in town were without power.
"I want my power back.. I am quite bored!" Kate Dickman wrote on our Facebook wall along with many others who were frustrated to not have electricity.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency reported that as of just after 8 p.m. Sunday, more than 646,000 Massachusetts households were without power.
There was concern about flooding early on, especially with the Merrimack and Shawsheen rivers almost at flood level before the storm hit.
But the rivers held steady and no homes were impacted by their rising waters.
"We're not looking at a very high storm surge coming from the east," Emergency Management Deputy Director John Savastano said. "Being where we are, where the river is tidal, I don't think we'll see much of a problem."
There were some spots around town where the streets were covered with water due to drainage issues, but that was it. This was fortunate, since the Division of Public Works said early on that because they had only an on-call staffer, they would not deliver sandbags to people's homes.