DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

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November 1, 2012

Sandy knocks out Derry and Londonderry

Utility crews, residents clean up after Sandy

Residents prepared for the worst and hoped for the best.

Sandy brought some of both when she swept in Monday, a year to the day after more than 30 inches of snow fell on the region, leaving residents in the dark for days.

For some, especially in Londonderry, it was a painful reminder of feeling powerless.

Public Service of New Hampshire said Londonderry was one of the hardest hit towns and it could take days before all customers had power restored.

But, many said, it could have been worse.

“We had a long preparation time,” Londonderry fire Chief Kevin MacCaffrie said. “People in no way, shape or form were taken surprise by this. They stayed off the roads and that helped.”

School buses were off the road. Both school districts canceled classes Monday and Tuesday.

In Derry, police Capt. Vernon Thomas said experience paid off.

“We made out better than we thought,” he said. “We had significant winds, but we have experience dealing with those winds.”

Communication can be key in a town’s response to a major storm.

MacCaffrie said the fire department made good use of its Twitter account and emergency text messaging.

In addition, officials warned residents on Brookview Drive and Parmenter Road of possible flooding before the storm hit, he said.

Sandy generated fewer calls than last year’s October snowstorm, MacCaffrie said. The fire department received 78 calls, compared to more than 150 last year, he said.

ALERT, A Londonderry Emergency Response Team, had about 20 members on standby if the regional shelter at Londonderry High School was needed, according to ALERT vice president Colleen Monks. But the shelter never opened, although more than a dozen were available statewide.

For once, Gerald and Dorothy Gulezian of Brookview Drive in Londonderry did not have to pump out their basement.

“It’s nothing short of miraculous,” Gerald Gulezian said. “We had water pumps, generators, flashlights and batteries at the ready; we needed none of it.”

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