The familiar buzz of chainsaws could be heard throughout neighborhoods in Hanson and Whitman over the last few days as storm cleanup and damage assessment efforts also continued — nearly 72 hours after Friday’s historic winter storm Riley battered the east coast.
The storm, which reportedly underwent bombogenesis (intense strengthening) off the coast of New England, was relentless with winds recorded as high as 70 mph and higher closer to the shoreline, according to weather reports.
Whitman Fire Chief Timothy Grenno also cautioned residents, during the Tuesday, March 6 Board of Selectmen’s meeting to be wary of damaged trees that could fall during this week’s storm.
“It came in a little bit stronger than we expected it to,” Grenno said of the March 2 storm. “The big concern right now is I know of three or four trees that are partially uprooted and are unstable.”
Winds through Thursday, March 6 re expected to gust to about 45 mph.
“It’s going to bring those trees right down,” he said. “There’s a lot of damaged trees out there.”
If the root ball of a tree is already lifting up, that is wind-storm damage almost certain to bring a tree down in the second storm, officials said.
Both towns fielded dozens of storm related calls into Tuesday related to flooding of homes, power outages, gas leaks and downed wires among other issues.
During the peak of the storm — Friday into Saturday — both towns’ public safety departments were fully staffed. Hanson’s first responders were operating at full capacity, including three 911 dispatchers. Whitman-Holbrook dispatch regional center and EOC was in full operations.
Humongous trees were falling while responders were trying to reach those in need making for demanding and hazardous conditions. Hanson police and fire responded to an urgent tree-down call with three cars trapped with their occupants still inside at 680 Liberty St., just before 7 p.m. Friday near Gorwin Drive.
“Live wires came down with the tree so the occupants had to remain in their cars for approximately half an hour. Fortunately, there were no injuries,” said Hanson Police Lt. Michael Casey. “There were many close calls.”
Route 58 (Liberty Street) was closed down for over eight hours in Hanson, which impeded travel times for emergency crews. Route 58 is a main point of access for Hanson.