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Gov. Patrick: Stay Home If You Can

With the state bracing for Hurricane Sandy, Gov. Patrick is urging communities to close schools Monday and asking residents to stay off the roads, and says coastal communities may need to be evacuated.

As Hurricane Sandy barrels toward the East Coast, Gov. Deval Patrick held another press conference Sunday afternoon to update the public about Hurricane Sandy, urging residents to stay off the roads and asked communities to close schools. 

"Soon the entire commonwealth will feel the effects of the hurricane," Patrick said.

The National Weather Service reports that New England will likely see damaging winds, major flooding and beach erosion.

"To help keep the roads clear for emergency personnel and to keep people safe from flying limbs and debris or from down power lines, I am first of all requesting all schools including colleges and early education programs to close Monday, for the safety of students and employees alike," Patrick said.

Patrick said all non-emergency state workers are asked to stay home Monday, and all state office buildings will be closed.

"And I am encouraging private employers to follow our lead and have their workers stay home as well," Patrick said.

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz said coastal communities are in danger of severe coastal flooding and some may need to be evacuated.

"We have urged the coastal communities to carefully evaluate the storm surge that is being predicted and to map out those areas of their communities that are at risk of flooding and to take appropriate action including notifying residents of those areas, businesses of those areas, and if necessary to impose voluntary or mandatory evacuation areas," Schwartz said.

Schwartz pointed out the south shore, particularly in the New Bedford area and Buzzard's Bay, which may see a storm surge of up to 10 feet. Other areas along the coast may see storm surges of up to 6 feet. There will likely be pockets of severe flooding in many coastal communities.

Widespread power outages are likely, and Patrick said there may be an even bigger impact on service than the state had during Hurricane Irene last year.

Patrick emphasized the need for community cooperation during and after the storm, especially regarding keeping the roads clear and staying updated on conditions.

"We're going get through this," Patrick said. "We are as well prepared as we possibly can be."

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