Storm Aftermath: Schools Remain Closed, Untreated Sewage Enters River

Haverhill Police photograph.

Schools remain closed today in Haverhill, Methuen and Andover while Timberlane Regional School District delays opening two hours in the aftermath of a powerful storm that left thousands of homes without power.

The storm brought hurricane-force wind gusts that topped hundreds of trees, snapped utility poles and, absent power, caused the Greater Lawrence Sanitary District to divert thousands of gallons of untreated sewage into the Merrimack River.

Haverhill School Superintendent James F. Scully said six schools without power and the inability of school buses to travel along blocked streets are among his reasons for closing public schools a second day.

“In view of the fact that families have to make arrangements when the schools are closed and it appears that the power company is not going to have many of our schools with electricity tomorrow, I will again be closing the schools Tuesday Oct 31,” Scully wrote in emails sent Monday.

Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in Haverhill also remains closed. Nearby Pentucket Regional Schools were able to open Monday with a two-hour delay. Besides closing schools, Andover postponed Halloween festivities.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini ordered the Haverhill Citizens Center to remain open Monday night to ensure residents maintain access to electrical power for medical equipment.

Both WHAV’s Ward Hill studios and Silver Hill transmitter site lost utility power early Monday. The transmitter was restored to operation with a backup generator, while studio programming resumed from an alternate site. Despite the alternate facilities, audio between the studio and transmitter site was interrupted several times because of Comcast outages.

Adding to Haverhill’s troubles was a water main break in Riverside, cutting off flows to Golden Hill School and Mears Farm Road.

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