Wareham slammed again by windy, powerful storm

Schools, town offices closed Wednesday
Mar 14, 2018

March is roaring.

Wareham dealt with a wet, windy and wild nor’easter Tuesday that closed schools and town offices for two days, knocked out power for thousands and brought down trees across town.

The storm, which featured blizzard conditions for some on the South Coast, came in the wake of a March 2 nor’easter. That storm was light on snow, but featured powerful winds that knocked out power to 99 percent of Wareham for roughly a day and a half. Tuesday’s storm started before dawn with high winds and blowing snow, causing whiteout conditions and making travel treacherous, though power outages were not as extensive as the March 2 storm.

Many heeded the advice of Wareham Police and remained off the roads for much of Tuesday as traffic was light until early evening when the storm died down.

The Wareham Fire Department responded to 128 calls from Tuesday at 6 a.m. to early Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re still going,” said Interim Fire Chief Pat Haskell, noting firefighters were checking town roads for downed wires and trees on Wednesday.

He said there were no major incidents. Fallen trees, false alarms from power outages and medical calls kept firefighters busy. Firefighters were also called upon to help transport a handful of people from their homes to the town’s warming center at the Multi-Service Center. One major issue, said Haskell, was heavy snow that became frozen solid overnight.

“The biggest problem was the heavy, wet snow,” he said. “It stuck to trees and power lines then froze and wouldn’t let go.”

Haskell urged residents to avoid downed power lines in the days after the storm. He also noted that the department responded to some calls of people operating generators inside garages, which prompted responses related to carbon monoxide. He stressed that residents must never operate generators inside or near homes. Onset Fire Chief Ray Goodwin said his department responded to approximately 30 calls during the storm, mostly for minor issues, such as cars sliding off roads, carbon monoxide alarms and down power lines.

Trees, felled by heavy, wet snow, posed a problem for many homeowners. A house at 15 Agawam Beach Road was hit by a pine.

“Fortunately, the only damage was a branch that punctured the roof in the attic and some minor damage to the front light fixture and siding,” said Fara Padden, the resident. After the close call, Wareham firefighters inspected the home and deemed it structurally sound. Others weren’t as lucky.

A mobile home at Garden Homes Estates North was destroyed after a tree fell on it Tuesday afternoon. Neighbors report the residents were inside, but unharmed after the tree came down. Another call had Wareham firefighters responding to a transformer fire a couple hundred yards off I-495’s southbound lane.

State Police temporarily closed a portion of the highway for the response. Due to widespread power outages, Eversource officials warned that restoration efforts may be a multi-day affair.

In Wareham, 30 percent of the town was still without electricity as of late Wednesday afternoon.

“Customers are being advised to make plans as it may be days until power is fully restored,” according to an Eversource press release.