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UPDATED: Tracking Hurricane Irene: Storm Center Lexington

Updates, tips and numbers to know before, during and after Hurricane Irene.

Updated at 6:05 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 28

As of 6 p.m. today, crews continued working on a storm-related fire on School Street that involved either the gas or electric utilities, a police spokesman said.

According to reports, a tree fell around 12 p.m., taking with it a powerline, which eventually ignited an asphalt fire on School Street. Pictures submitted to Patch around 2:30 p.m. showed a downed tree, wires and flames in the roadway.

Around 5 p.m., a large tree remained in the road and it appeared as though workers were attempting to cool conduits below street level.

Steam could be seen billowing from the pavement as gusts of wind and sprayed water crossed an area of the street blocked off by cones and NStar vehicles. 

Witnesses at the scene told Patch the gas had been shut off to homes along School Street and some residents were encouraged to leave the area.

A source at the scene said the initial fire melted valves on a gas line, which was not the main line to the street. A police spokesperson was unable confirm this report, nor could he say whether utilities were shut off for the entire street.

The police source said crews from the gas and electric utilities were working with the Lexington Fire Department to investigate and extinguish the fire.

Updated at 3 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 28

Emergency responders across Lexington have been busy today, Aug. 28, with dozens of Hurricane Irene-related calls for down tree limbs, flooding and isolated power outages.

Just before 2 p.m., the had received more than 92 calls, almost every one of them storm-related. That's more than 10-times the amount of calls the department received a week ago, when it responded to a total of 9 calls.

As of 2 p.m., there had been no reported injuries or medical emergencies associated with the storm, nor had there been any reported motor vehicel accidents or crime, a police spokesman said.

However, the storm had knocked down trees and limbs around town, closing several streets and littering the with a large tree.

Traffic lights were knocked out at the intersection of Mass Ave and Worthen Street, and School Street was closed after a falling tree took down power lines and caused an arcing fire. 

Residents also reported widespread power outages, with National Grid crews working all across town. 

Stay tuned to Lexington Patch and our or share your storm photos and experiences in our Images of Irene gallery

Posted at 6:30 p.m., Friday, Aug 26.

Heading into the weekend, it was still too early to know exactly how Hurricane Irene would affect Lexington and the rest of the region, but local officials prepared for the worst – and encouraged others to do the same.

Friday afternoon forecasts said the storm had turned north and was expected to assault southern New England with strong winds and heavy rainfall, as well as possible flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

“It is too early to provide exact wind and surge forecast values for specific locations,” the Service said. “A general concern should be fore the possibility of at least damaging winds likely somewhere within southern New England.”

The NWS issued a Tropical Storm Watch for Lexington and surrounding communities, in anticipation of Hurricane Irene and her strong winds and heavy rain.

“For those under a watch, now is the time to begin preparing your home or business according to your hurricane disaster plan,” the Service said. “Listen for possible warnings and be ready to evacuate if necessary. Heed the advice of local officials and comply with any orders that are issued.”

Local officials have used the town website as a place to post tips for hurricane preparedness and mitigation, as well as utilities information. (PDFs of those notices are posted with the photos.)

Lexington officials had been in prep mode since Wednesday, meeting daily through noontime on Friday, when senior staffers hopped on a call with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to finalize plans.

"It's a collaborative effort," Bill Hadley, the director of Public Works, told Patch on Thursday. "We're all working together."

School officials have also been involved in the planning and preparations as has been identified as a potential storm shelter and teachers are scheduled to return to their classrooms on Monday. 

The schools are looking at Hurricane Irene as they would a blizzard, and Superintendent of Schools Paul Ash is prepared to push back the first day of school, if necessary. Ash said he would use a voicemail notification system on Friday and Sunday, if necessary, and would alert TV and radio stations in the event of a closing.

Patch will be live-blogging throughout the storm. So be sure to check back here -- and the town website -- for the latest updates or to help us share important information with everyone around town, such as power outages, street closures or just general updates.

How You Can Help

Add your storm photos and videos. It's easy. Just click the "Add photos & videos" link underneath the graphic to the right.

Let us know what's happening in your neighborhood. Leave a comment about how Irene has hit your neighborhood, email patrick.ball@patch.com, post to our Facebook Page or tweet your update to @LexingtonPatch.

Stay up-to-date if you lose power by downloading the Lexington Patch iPhone app. Updates will also be posted to twitter and Facebook.

Numbers to Know

For emergency situations: Dial 911 and speak with a dispatcher

DPW Water/Sewer Operations Office: 1-781-274-8300, press 1

DPW after hours emergency phone number: 1-781-862-1618

MASS 211: 1-877-211-MASS (6277)

During the recovery period, you may also contact Health Director Gerard Cody: 781-862-0500 x 237 or gcody@lexingtonma.gov.

Carmen Mandel August 27, 2011 at 01:50 PM
Plan your pet safety!. http://coventry.patch.com/articles/animal-control-educates-residents-about-emergency-animal-safety For birds, reptiles and small pets: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness/

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