Developing
12:29 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Gov. Lynch Declares State Of Emergency, Many Flights Canceled

Credit NOAA

Update:  October 29, 2012, 7:08 p.m.

POWER OUTAGES: More than 100,000.

EVACUATIONS: None.

NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN SHELTERS: At least 13 shelters open in Rochester, Plymouth, Rindge, Exeter, Sanborn, North Hampton, Nashua, Auburn, New Ipswich, Keene, New Boston and Bedford.

INJURIES/DEATHS: None.

KEY ROAD/GOVERNMENT CLOSINGS: Many communities shutting down public buildings early, releasing workers; some local roads closed.

HIGHLIGHT: Gov. John Lynch declared a state of emergency as the National Weather Service forecast wind gusts of up to 70 mph. New Hampshire National Guard troops were at the ready.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I'm glad we came, but I'll be glad to get home," Elaine St. Pierre, 69, of Goffstown, said after getting splashed by the high tide at Hampton Beach.

Update: October 29, 11:20 AM

Governor Jon Lynch has announced a state of emergency in advance of the arrival of the worst of Hurricane Sandy. This declaration gives the Governor additional authority to deal with possible effects of the storm, and sets the state up to receive federal disaster relief if needed.

In a written statement the governor said, "Water in the roadways, flying debris and downed power lines are all possible because of the severity of this storm, which is why we are urging people stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary."

The storm has yet to cause any serious damage, but the worst of the winds and rain are expected to begin in the mid-afternoon.

Flights Grounded

Officials at Manchester Airport say that while morning departures mostly went smoothly, Hurricane Sandy will bring most air traffic to a halt this afternoon and into tomorrow. Airport spokesman Tom Malafronte says except for a few flights operated by United and Delta, most departures for the day have been canceled. He says the disruption is likely to continue to tomorrow.

"We are anticipating having little to no overnight aircraft on the ramp tonight," said Malafronte, "which means all of tomorrow morning’s departures will be canceled."

He says he hopes departures will get back on track tomorrow, if the storm progresses as has been forecasted. He notes that travelers should still check their flight’s status to be sure if their airline has scheduled any changes.

Unusual Storm Track

Dan St. Jean with the National Weather Service says Hurricane Sandy is set to track up the East coast off-shore, and make a hard, westward turn.

St. Jean: This is pretty unprecedented, looking back at track information over the last 100 to 150 years, just is not something we’ve observed before so this is quite rare.

St. Jean says it looks like models are putting landfall somewhere around the Delaware Bay region on Tuesday morning.

He says, if that proves to be the case, New Hampshire would see 1 to 2 inches of rain, and winds around 40 miles per hour, as well as more rain later in the week as the storm works its way back out to sea.

Utilities Gear Up

The forecasted winds could knock out power to many New Hampshire residents. PSNH spokesman Martin Murray says downed trees and branches are likely to be the culprits.

Murray: We have 100 tree trimming crews lined up. They will be pre-positioned over the weekend, so we expect them to be able to hit the ground running.

According to Murray other preparations include calling vulnerable customers to remind

Credit Flikr Creative Commons / PSNH

them to take precautions, and canceling vacations to put all of their crews on stand-by.

Murray: Now exactly how bad things are here in New Hampshire depends entirely on the storm. We believe that the further south it comes inland the better for New Hampshire.

In other words: if the current weather modeling pans out, New Hampshire line crews will have a much easier week than this time last year.

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