Our town is faced with another potentially devastating storm. Yesterday, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) met with all town department heads and reviewed emergency operation plans. We have just concluded a conference call with the state. The governor has declared a state of emergency and it is anticipated that First Selectman Mallozzi will do the same locally if weather patterns do not shift significantly tomorrow.
Current forecasts project Hurricane Sandy to reach Fairfield County Sunday evening. Early indications are that the effects of Sandy will be more similar to a prolonged nor'easter with unprecedented rainfall and high winds over a 36-48 hour period.
We anticipate that numerous trees and wires will be downed and power and communications disrupted for an extended period of time. CL&P is predicting that roughly 750,000 customers will lose power. Roadways may be impassable and train schedules interrupted. While the storm is still 36 hours away and subject to shifting tracks, this has the potential to be an extremely devastating storm.
It should be anticipated that if the storm remains on its current path, we could be without power for 10-14 days. This prediction is longer than that for last year's Tropical Storm Irene because emergency utility crews might not be able to begin work for 2-4 days depending on when the strong winds subside.
If you have experienced any water damage to your home as a result of any prior storms, you should expect to experience certain flooding with Sandy. At this moment, the OEM is encouraging all residents in low-lying areas near the Silvermine and Rippowam Rivers to voluntarily evacuate inland. Now is the time to make arrangements to stay with friends or relatives in less affected areas. A decision on mandatory evacuation orders will be made tomorrow.
All residents are encouraged to sign up for the town's outcall system, which can be found at www.newcanaan.info and click on the red "Hurricane Sandy" banner at the top of the page. Please enter your home phone numbers as well as your cellular numbers. Announcements about a town shelter, road closures and services provided will be disseminated via this system, local media, and the town website. In addition, the OEM's Facebook page, found at www.newcanaanoem.com, will be actively monitored and providing updates.
In addition, should you lose power to your residence, please contact CL&P at (800) 286-2000 and advise them of the outage.
We are pleased to announce the addition of SmartPrepare, a web-based application designed to allow citizens to provide vital information to local emergency responders. We urge all residents to create a preparedness profile by visiting www.smartprepare.com. All information is secure and there is no cost to register.
Recommended Safety Measures
All downed wires should be considered live and extremely dangerous.
Make sure that you have ample supply of prescription medications and remember to bring them with you should you need to evacuate.
Secure all outdoor items such as lawn furniture, umbrellas, and flowerpots.
Make sure gutters and down spouts are clear.
Do not pile leaves in the street prior to the storm or they will risk interfering with storm drains.
If you have well water, remember to fill your bathtubs to provide water to aid in flushing toilets.
Ensure fuel supply for generators is full.
If you are using a generator, make certain that your house is equipped with functioning carbon monoxide detectors.
Charge all cell phones and have car chargers available.
Have working flashlights and extra batteries on hand, and be sure to use caution when using candles.
Have a family communication plan and prepare for communication loss during this time.
Emergency services will be using traffic barricades and caution tape to mark off/close down areas that are impassable or hazardous. Do not move or by-pass these barriers -- they are there for your safety.
The Emergency Operations Center will be fully activated on Sunday, Oct. 28, at noon.
To contact the EOC, call 203-594-4100 or via its Facebook page. Also, be sure to reach out to those who might need additional assistance. Updates will be provided regularly as information becomes available.