GRAFTON, Mass. - Grafton's schools and the Municipal Center will be closed Monday as the area braces for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.
Town Administrator Tim McInerney made the call to close most Grafton public buildings late Sunday afternoon as Gov. Deval Patrick called for the closure of all Massachusetts schools and public offices and requested that private employers keep their employees home.
The Municipal Center, Grafton Public Library and the Grafton Community Television studio will be closed for normal business.
Grafton emergency responders prepared for Hurricane Sandy Sunday, readying for a storm that is projected to cause more wind damage than last year's Hurricane Irene.
Among them was Superintendent of Schools James Cummings, who later in the day made the call to close Grafton schools.
Grafton Emergency Management Director Ray Mead said the fire department will run on first responder alert and that the emergency operations center on the second floor of the Grafton Police Department will be activated if it is required.
A shelter will be set up in the Municipal Center gym if the need arises, but right now with temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees, the need does not seem imminent, Mead said.
If the storm creates significant power outages and downs trees that would create a public safety problem, the Code Red alert system, which is similar to a reverse 911 call, will go out to the 5,000 residents who have signed up.
Police Chief Normand Crepeau Jr. said an extra dispatcher will be assigned to handle calls.
Trash and recycling will still be collected on schedule. All items should be out by 7 a.m., according to a release sent out by the Town of Grafton.
Monday night's League of Women Voters' forum on the ballot questions has been canceled.
The Daily Voice, available on computer, tablet and smartphone, will be updating with the latest local information throughout the storm. Have cancellations or storm damage photos? Email email@example.com.