National Guard activated to assist with tornado cleanup

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – Gov. Charlie Baker activated the National Guard on Thursday to assist with cleanup in Dennis, Harwich, Chatham, and Yarmouth following two tornadoes that touched down on Cape Cod Tuesday, leaving widespread damage in their wake.

Baker said crews were still working to reach parts of communities where downed trees and other debris had made access difficult in the wake of Tuesday’s violent storms.

The order from Baker makes up to 500 guardsmen available to join 221 Department of Correction employees and 88 inmates in helping those four towns clear roads and debris. The crews, including the guardsmen, will be spread evenly across the four towns, according to the administration.

Baker, at an earlier press conference on transportation legislation, said the determination had not yet been made whether to seek a federal disaster declaration, but that he had spoken with members of the Congressional delegation about the damage.

U.S. Rep. William Keating, who represents Cape Cod, called on Baker Wednesday to issue a disaster declaration to assist with providing relief.

“We’re obviously going to do everything we can to make sure that if the opportunity to access federal funds is there that we take it, but we’re still in the process, as I said yesterday, of gathering information with respect to what people’s expenses look like, how much they’ve had out of pocket, what we anticipate they’ll have out of pocket going forward,” Baker said.

He added, “There is so much debris yet to be collected and in some cases, yesterday parts of the community that was hit by this people hadn’t been able to access yet because they couldn’t get down the road.”

Officials from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Barnstable County, State Police, and the Department of Fire Services are also on scene, according to MEMA.

The latest update from MEMA indicates that Eversource anticipates fully restoring power to customers in Dennis by 8 p.m. and to homes and businesses in Chatham, Yarmouth, and Harwick by midnight.

The utility said it had 896 crews out working, including 345 line crews and 271 tree crews. As of 1:30 p.m., thee were still 1,125 customers in those four towns still without power.

The latest MEMA report indicated that there had also been 21 requests for resources, mostly for utility crews and debris removal resources.

The National Guard activation order will remain in effect “until support for debris operations is no longer necessary.”

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