Western Massachusetts towns are getting ahead of future storms

BELCHERTOWN, Mass. (WWLP) – After seeing the devastation down south, many western Massachusetts communities are starting to make emergency plans. 22News found out how they’re planning for future storms.

More than a dozen western Massachusetts towns have secured state grants to help them get ready in case a major storm hits in the future.

Southern states are still reeling from hurricanes Harvey and Irma. After seeing the destruction from these catastrophic hurricanes, western Massachusetts residents want to make sure the Northeast is prepared for a powerful storm.

A western Massachusetts-based consulting firm helps New England cities and towns plan their infrastructure. Mary Louise Monahan, Director of Business Development at Fuss & O’Neill, told 22News, “What we saw in both Texas and Florida is that coasts have their own unique challenges with sea level rise but the intensity of the storms and their ability to create severe flooding inland is also very important.”

The Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program provides funding to help towns develop action plans to deal with weather emergencies.

The town of Belchertown is just one of many towns not only here in western Massachusetts but in the state of Massachusetts that is planning ahead. Doug Albertson, Belchertown Town Planner, told 22News, “We just saw a couple of big storms in the south, what is something like that happens here, we’ll have trees down, power will out. That kinda stuff can happen and it might happen more often or more intensity.”

Across the state, 71 communities have received these grants ranging from 15 thousand to 20 thousand dollars. 16 are in the four western counties.

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