By: Melissa Toupin
Folks living in low-lying areas across Massachusetts and Rhode Island are being told to pack up and leave their homes, some under mandatory evacuations. For others it's recommended.
At Sherwood Valley Park in Coventry residents received a letter encouraging them to find shelter elsewhere tonight. Many are heading the warning, but others have decided to stay put.
The winds picking up in Westerly tonight. The streets eerily quiet. Many residents and businesses heading the warning and evacuating in an anticipation of Sandy.
"It's more important to be safe than to save material goods," said owner of Avondale Boat Yard Mac Cooper. "People are more important than boats."
Cooper tying up loose ends at the Avondale Boat Yard in Westerly. Over the last few days they've pulled 25-30 boats out of the marina. Cooper says during the '38 hurricane the water was waist high. This time around the surge from Sandy is expected to top that.
"I'm hoping it's not going to be as bad as they're making it out to be," said Cooper.
The mandatory deadline to leave came and went at 8 PM. The road to their Weekapaug Road home blocked off, but the Hyde's decided to tough out the storm.
"It's not going to be as serious tonight as everybody seems to think it is," said Howard Hyde. "We'll be out tomorrow if it gets very bad."
The Hyde's anticipate the water will make it across the street. Still, they are hoping it won't reach the porch like Gloria did in '85. Just in case Sandy is as strong as forecasters are anticipating the Howard boarded up the windows to the cottage and stocked up on batteries and candles.
"We have everything we need. As long as the generator doesn't go under water we'll be just fine," said Hyde.
Westerly police say they take the evacuations seriously. Those who choose to stay behind do so at their own risk.
The area of evacuation included: All residences and businesses in Misqauamicut south of Shore Road and the low-lying areas of Weekapaug, Watch Hill, Avondale, and along the Pawcatuck River up to the Stillman Avenue Bridge.
Residents needing emergency shelter may respond to the Red Cross Shelter located at the Chariho Middle School at 455 Switch Road in Wood River Junction. The shelter will open at 5:00 PM Sunday.