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Greenwich Girds for Hurricane Sandy

Greenwich officials plan twice daily updates for residents as the wait for Hurricane Sandy continues.

 

It's being referred to as a monster storm; the Frankenstorm and even the Perfect Storm.

Regardless of how local, state and federal officials describe Hurricane Sandy, one thing they all seem to agree on is residents should be prepared. Late Thursday afternoon found Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei convening a meeting of several key town departments to review strategies and procedures to be deployed even though it is still too early to tell which path Hurricane Sandy will follow.

"As of right now, the town is doing what it typically does—marshal its resources in anticipation of an event that is expected to happen sometime on Tuesday, according to information from the (Connecticut) Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) and bulletins from the National Weather Service," Tesei said.

"Based upon preliminary reports, we anticipate that Sandy has the potential for moderate to significant impact to Greenwich at the beginning of next week," Tesei said. He added, "Town personnel are securing all town facilities, reviewing their response plans, and organizing their human and physical resources to be ready for what may impact our Town.

Tesei also said, "The Town has consistently followed a priority list that addresses life safety issues as the most important area of concern. Other priorities include road closures, safe routing for traffic and pedestrians, and debris removal."

The response plans were the focus of Tesei's meeting Thursday afternoon with the heads of the Greenwich Police and Fire departments, Greenwich Emergency Medical Service (GEMS), the Greenwich Emergency Dispatch Center, the Department of Public Works, the Parks and Recreation Department and the town Health Department, and the town's Emergency Management Director Daniel Warzoha.

The town will provide updates twice daily—at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. via the town website www.greenwichct.org, Tesei said, and through local media outlets including greenwich.patch.com.

The town also is utilizing its reverse 911 phone system to issue notifications. The first telephone notification was issued about 7 p.m. Thursday which urged "residents to be prepared for the impact (of the storm) on the state of Connecticut and the Town of Greenwich early next week" and to download a hurricane preparedness brochure from the town's website. (To see the brochure, please see the attached PDF.)

According to the state's DEMHS website, Sandy is "forecast to turn to the North
Northeast, pick up some speed and move to a position approximately 150 Miles East of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina by 2:00 AM Monday Morning. Sandy is then forecast to turn North and then move Northwest to a position over Central New Jersey by 2:00 PM Tuesday afternoon.

"On this track Connecticut would be on the stronger winds side of the storm with the potential for heavy rain and flooding. This storm is still 3 - 4 days from Connecticut and it is still too early for precise impacts to be forecasted," according to DEMHS. For information on state preparations, please click here.

Tesei said that residents living along the town's shoreline and flood-prone low-lying areas "are well-versed in how to secure their property. (Evacuation) depends upon when storm hits and the intensity of it. There is the potential for heavy winds, high surf and rip currents."

Tesei said that he has met with representatives from Connecticut Light & Power for details on the utility's storm preparation. "They have arranged for crews to be on standby," Tesei said.

The utility has spent about $1 million for an aggressive tree-trimming program this year following extreme criticism from municipal officials and residents throughout the state on the extended power outages in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene and the freak Halloween snowstorm in 2011.

What will compound the the storm's impact is the full moon Monday night with its usual astronomical high tides.

Tesei said, "We encourage people to monitor the weather and take the steps to protect their property and the town will do its best to communicate, and requests their cooperation.

According to the National Hurricane Center, at 5 a.m. today, Hurricane Sandy was passing the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas and had sustained winds of 80 mph "with its wind field expanding."

Greenwich Patch will post new information and updates as it becomes available.

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