Dartmouth cleans up from powerful storm

By Douglas McCulloch | Oct 30, 2017
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch Boats along Smith  Neck Road.

Crews spent much of Monday cleaning up after an overnight storm brought down trees and knocked out power throughout Dartmouth.

Overnight during the intense Sunday-Monday storm, fire crews and Department of Public Works responded to dozens of calls for downed trees and power lines, both on main roads and side streets. According to scanner traffic, reports continued to come in throughout the day on Monday.

According to Fire District No. 1 Chief Brad Ellis, his crews responded to more than 20 calls alone. Ellis cautioned residents to stay away from downed power lines because they may be active. He added that crews are responding to many smoke and carbon monoxide alarms tripped by power outages and depleted battery backups, and urges regular switching of alarm batteries to avoid that.

Harbormaster Steve Melo said 12 boats broke free of their moorings in Padanaram Harbor and ran aground on the shoreline. Many washed up on Smith Neck Road, while others wound up on the Padanaram causeway and beaches in Padanaram.

He could only think of a small number of storms that came close to the damage caused in the water, but noted that powerful October storms are becoming more common, naming the 2006 storm as the last major damage-causing storm blew through Dartmouth's waterways.

The biggest failure he saw was boats with inadequate chafing protection on mooring ropes, and cautioned boaters to take their boats in for the season earlier.

"When it gets to Labor Day in New England, it's time to think about bringing boats home," Melo said.

On Laurel Lane, located off Howland Street, a large tree came crashing down right on top of power lines and a car parked on the street. According to scanner traffic, fire crews from District No. 3 responded to numerous reports of downed trees, telephone poles, and power lines, and calls for people stuck in elevators at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Fire District No. 2’s fire station lost power for a short period of time as a result of the storm, but Chief Tim Andre said the station quickly switched to backup generator power. The station’s business phone system also malfunctioned, but emergency 911 calls were unaffected as they are routed through the police station.

Andre said his district responded to a total of 15 calls during the storm as of 10:30 a.m., including reports of trees down on many of the main roadways through District No. 2’s coverage area, including Woodcock Road, Fisher Road, White Oak Run, and Tucker Road. He added that roads can still be hazardous in the aftermath of a big storm, and urged motorists to remain off the roads on Monday.

Earlier Monday morning, Eversource reported more than 15 percent of Dartmouth’s 14,756 customers were without power. That number has since fallen to six percent as of 10:30 a.m. Monday. By Tuesday, two percent of Dartmouth residents were still without power.

Although schools in other communities were canceled due to storm damage and power loss, all Dartmouth schools remain open.

Masts from sailboats tossed aground tower over Smith Neck Road. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
A car toppled by a tree on Laurel Lane. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Boat masts hang over Smith Neck Road. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Two boats, one which capsized, came to rest on the Padanaram causeway. Officials did not notice the second boat until low tide. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
A boat carved a path of destruction right through a dock before slamming into shore. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
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