By Thursday afternoon, 25 percent of Whitman residents had power — if not cable and Internet service — restored after the fierce Nor’Easter that knocked out power for the entire South Shore area.
“What we had been hearing from National Grid is it was a Type 3 event,” Whitman Town Administrator Lincoln Heineman said Thursday. “They categorize that as 72 hours from power first going out, but certainly that is a positive development and a little bit quicker than we were originally hearing from National Grid.
At the Tuesday, Oct. 26 Selectmen’s meeting he had said that “quite a bit of storm prep” was underway, including the Emergency Management team on standby to deal with it.
“We do know that we’re expecting possible winds of 75 mph, so that’s certainly serious and may very well result in power outages,” he said. But he said the WEMA team was in close contact to “make sure we’re up and running as soon as possible.”
The magnitude of the power outages was unforeseen, according Hanson Town Administrator Lisa Green.
National Grid was estimating it would be anywhere from 11:45 p.m., Thursday to over the weekend before power is fully restored. Heineman noted that Comcast has been “having a lot of problems, as well.”
“Despite our best efforts, we have not been able to get a reliable answer regarding Comcast,” he said. “I’ve been trying to get that answer.”
Several major routes heading into town had been blocked Wednesday, but are now open, with only a few streets still blocked.
To help with residents’ communication issues, Whitman has set up charging stations where they can go to recharge cell phones and warm up.
Town Hall auditorium, the high school and the Whitman Council on Aging were available until 4 p.m., Thursday.
“We had a lot of people here [Wednesday] night,” he said. “We’re trying to put something together at night.”
“Nobody expected a 100 percent power outage,” Green said on Thursday as the entire South Shore from Avon and Randolph down to Provincetown on the Cape were looking at continued outages until into the weekend.
“We spent yesterday — myself, Selectmen Chair Matt Dyer, and our IT Director Steve Moberg — spent a lot of yesterday, sending emails, text messages, trying to figure out who had what going on. We tried to get in touch with our staff as best we could with what minimal resources we had.”
Emails kept receiving server rejection messages.
“Nobody expected the magnitude,” she said, noting the long lines at Ferry’s Sunoco across the street for the second straight day and full parking lots at Shaw’s.
Green said she did not yet have an estimate on the number of trees felled in the storm, but National Grid is treating it as a Rate 3 event, which means they are still assessing and repairing the infrastructure before they can start restoring power.
“This lets us know what work we need to do going forward and being ready for this winter of updating and making sure our communications are in good shape,” she said.