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UPDATE: Portland prepares for Hurricane Sandy; City Hall closed at 3 p.m.

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UPDATE: Portland prepares for Hurricane Sandy; City Hall closed at 3 p.m.

PORTLAND — The city's non-essential offices, including City Hall and the city clerk’s office, will close today at 3 p.m., the city said in a press release.

The city has also begun emergency preparations for Hurricane Sandy, which is expected to hit the area later Monday.

Residents along the waterfront and lowland areas including Bayside, Stroudwater and Back Cove should anticipate flooding, according to a City Hall press release. Downed tree limbs and power lines should also be expected throughout the area.

Residents should not approach downed lines, and instead call 911 to report them. Call the Department of Public Services at 874-8493 to report tree limbs in city streets.

Public Services crews are clearing leaves and other debris from catch basins and storm drains. Residents can help by making sure that any basins near their homes are clear.

The city’s Oxford Street Shelter will open early at 1 p.m. to provide emergency shelter for homeless individuals. Outreach workers are visiting known camping sites within Portland to offer transportation to the shelter.

The Portland International Jetport remained open, but many flights have been canceled. Passengers are advised to visit the Jeport’s website for up-to-date information, portlandjetport.org.

The city will issue updates with pertinent information. Residents can check on the city’s website, portlandmaine.gov; on Facebook at Portland Cityline; Twitter at @PortlandCitylin, or call the city’s hotline at 879-0300 for information.