Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio on Friday said the city will open its Emergency Operations Center either Sunday or Monday in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.
The mayor's office sent a late-afternoon release announcing the decision after meeting with the city's emergency preparedness team. All storm prep will be completed by Monday, according to the release.
The mayor urged all residents to take extreme caution while preparing for and during the storm, and advised residents to monitor local media and social media for updates. New London Patch will be reporting on the storm on the site and also on its Facebook page and Twitter feed.
The city will work with the American Red Cross, the state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) and the New London Board of Education to open an emergency relocation center at Winthrop School, located at 74 Grove St.
City's Weekend Prep
Here's a snapshot of other preparations the city is making this weekend on the mayor's orders:
- The Public Works Department will be placing sandbags in areas prone to flooding
- Public Works will be securing city property such as garbage cans and hanging plants downtown to limit damage to storefronts and private homes' windows.
- Drain tops will be cleared by Monday.
- The Bank Street pump has been tested and affirmed as fully operational.
- The transfer station is open Saturday, Oct. 29, to allow residents to clear bulky waste before the storm hits. There will be no bulky waste pickup the day after the storm subsides.
- Residents will be able to fill their own sandbags at 109 Crystal Ave. (you must bring your own sandbags and shovels).
The mayor's office also cautioned that if there is a downed power line, don't assume it's dead. Call the police or fire department.
Mayor Finizio will also be in constant contact with state agencies and other municipalites leading up to and during the storm.
The storm could bring winds of up to 40 mph, and could last up to 36 hours, according to Gov. Dannel Malloy. Malloy said to expect up to 7 inches of rain from the storm.
Accuweather.com reports that although rain is expected Sunday, the storm should really hit southeastern Connecticut Monday, when winds will be between 30 and 41 mph and heavy rainfall, according to accuweather.com.
Tuesday should be rainy as well, with winds between 20 and 49 mph, and then the rain should turn into a drizzle Tuesday night, according to accuweather.com. On Wednesday, there is a slight chance of rain during the day and a high chance of rain at night, with wind gusts between 11 and 20 mph, and then the storm should end.
Accuweather is predicting a storm surge of up to 5 to 10 feet, with widespread power outages and property damage a strong possibility.
What You Should Do Now
State officials are encouraging people to clear their yard of possible projectiles, such as toys or tiki torches or anything that could easily be blown around.
Officials also encouraged people to have phone numbers for important contacts written down (with no power, cell phones could die), to have a gallon of water per person for everyone in the home for three days, to have cash (ATMs will not work if there is no power) and to fill their cars with gasoline in case the pumps are powerless.
Officials also encouraged people to have batteries and a flashlight and suggested people who are particularly vulnerable, such as the elderly (especially if they are living alone), go to emergency shelters if a storm is expected to hit.
Millstone spokesman Ken Holt said the power plant has begun preparations for a storm, including either taking in or tying down everything outside that could become a projectile.
Holt said Millstone has not yet made a decision on if it will power down its two nuclear reactors, like it did during Tropical Storm Irene. Holt said that determination will be made in the upcoming days as the storm draws closer.
State Parks Closed Starting Monday
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced that all state parks will be closed starting Monday. Additionally the DEEP is pulling all boat docks and portable toilets from state boat launches.
Places for Information
Follow the state’s emergency preparedness guide here.
Patch will be collecting all this information, along with our own original reporting. Follow our site and click here to follow our Facebook page.
Check back with New London Patch for more updates as the storm approaches southeastern Connecticut.