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BU to reopen Tuesday at 11 a.m. as Mass. avoids major disasters from Hurricane Sandy

As Hurricane Sandy barreled through New England Monday, Massachusetts government officials said the Commonwealth benefited from a change in the storm’s path, as some schools, public transit and businesses are back in session on Tuesday.

Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick issued an update on Hurricane Sandy at a press conference live-streamed on local news stations on Monday night, saying that although the storm remained strong, the state luckily did not suffer any major catastrophes.

“The storm track that we were originally following changed,” Patrick said, “and changed to the advantage of impact for Massachusetts.”

Patrick said there was a lot of wind damage around the state, but no real serious injury.

Boston University is set to reopen at 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, said BU spokesman Colin Riley. He said the administration made it’s decision based on the availability of transportation for faculty and staff.

Patrick said response teams had practice dealing with Hurricane Irene in 2011 and the response so far was pretty effective.

“It’s too soon to fully evaluate the response because there are still 380,000 people without power,” he said.

Two car accidents were reported in Peabody and Dartmouth respectively, but they were not caused by the storm, Patrick said.

Massachusetts National Guardsmen were alerted to clear debris for emergency vehicles, provide power generation and support requests from communities to help citizens following the aftermath, said Major Michelle Faucher, executive officer for the 65th Public Affairs Operation Center of the Massachusetts National Guard, in an email.

“The Governor of Massachusetts has ordered Army and Air National Guard personnel to State Active Duty in order to provide resources in support of local authorities and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency’s request for assistance to support Hurricane Sandy,” Faucher said.

NSTAR Electric reported that 13 percent of its customers had been affected by the storm, as of about 9:30 p.m. Monday, placing the number at 149,842.

NSTAR reported 6,916 power outages in Boston at about the same time.

NSTAR said on its website that it had 3,000 NSTAR personnel as well as 1,200 contracted out workers from across the U.S. ready to repair the damages that Sandy incurred.

Both Patrick and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officials said they were “cautiously optimistic” that the MBTA would be running regular routes Tuesday.

Patrick said MBTA service depends on when the weather dies down.

“We need the weather to settle so the crews can get out there,” he said.

The MBTA said service would remain suspended through Monday, but the MBTA is preparing to make operations ready on Tuesday.

“MBTA crews are currently working to clear downed trees, power lines and storm-related debris throughout the system,” according to the MBTA website. “The MBTA is cautiously optimistic that regularly scheduled subway, bus, commuter boat and RIDE service will resume at the start of service Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.”

The Providence line of Amtrak suffered wire damage and will not resume service on Tuesday, the MBTA reported.

Patrick announced state employees working in executive branch agencies would have a delayed start of work at 10 a.m.

The Boston Public Schools announced Monday night that classes would resume at regular times on Tuesday and buses will run their normal schedules.

The cost of recovery efforts is still up in the air, as the storm will be raging throughout the night, possibly creating greater damage to the Commonwealth, Patrick said.

“One of the reasons we can’t answer the question yet is number one, we aren’t done with this weather,” Patrick said. “The most dangerous part of this event is happening on the South Coast right now.”

Patrick said he was planning on visiting the South Coast and other impacted areas on Tuesday with Mass. Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray.

 

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