City Officials Update Snow Cleanup, Say Safety Risks Still Exist
NEW BEDFORD - It's not every day that the City of New Bedford holds a press conference to discuss a snow storm. However, with much of the northeast hampered by Thursday's blizzard, which accounted for more than 100,000 power outages across the region, Mayor Jon Mitchell and elected officials provided an update on the snow cleanup in New Bedford as well as a warning of the dangers still ahead.
Mitchell warns that while DPI employees have been working in shifts as long as 25 hours to clear sidewalks and roadways, the subzero temperatures scheduled for this weekend will refreeze any melted snow and add additional weight to the snow encased on tree branches and electric wires.
“Fifteen wires down, 16 tree related issues, we had a total of roughly 1,700 power outages city-wide, and we've had a number of incidents across the city with wires,” Mayor Mitchell reported. “We reacted very quickly to those by establishing a new practice in effect to embed a firefighter with our folks at DPI. It bears emphasizing: A great job done by all here, and our DPI folks were out there going curb to curb.”
With most issues under control, Emergency Management Director Bryan Nobrega says the risk to lose power over the course of the day and into the weekend shouldn't be ignored. He says that three locations in the city, one of which being a DPI pump station, were without power as of Friday morning. Nobrega also says the DPI has been in contact with Eversource and is hoping to have all areas back up-and-running by the afternoon.
“With that said, if another tree goes down that will all change, but if Eversource is put out by noontime then everything should be up and running,” Nobrega explained. “The risk (of losing power) is still definitely a problem over the next couple of hours and well into tomorrow morning.”
Mayor Mitchell also reports that over 300 tons of salt and 1,000 gallons of magnesium chloride have been deployed on New Bedford streets since early Thursday morning until about 2:00 a.m. Friday morning. He applauded the efforts made by city workers and informs the public that it will continue as the bitter cold makes its way back to the Whaling City.