Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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August 26, 2011

Governor declares state of emergency as hurricane moves closer

Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency this afternoon as Hurricane Irene approaches.

"We expect this to be a powerful and a potentially dangerous storm," Patrick said in a press conference from the Framingham headquarters of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Association.

Patrick requested that residents stay off the roads this weekend.

He said state officials were coordinating with utilities to make sure that early response teams were ready in the event of widespread power failures. State reservoirs were also being drawn down to help absorb rainfall and minimize flooding, he said.

Five hundred members of the Massachusetts National Guard were being deployed immediately, with another 2,000 to be activated tomorrow.

Additionally, the National Weather Service issued a hurricane watch this morning for all of coastal Massachusetts. The advisory includes a tropical storm watch for inland Massachusetts and a flood watch for the entire Commonwealth.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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