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Hurricane Sandy 'Could Be The Most Severe Storm' Town Encounters [VIDEOS] [UPDATED]

First Selectman Peter Tesei urges residents to be prepared; Greenwich to open Emergency Operations Center Sunday; emergency shelters are being readied.

 

[Editor's Note: For updates on train and highway closures/delays, as well as power outages across southern Fairfield County once the storm hits, click here.]

Updated 1:10 a.m.

On Saturday night, Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei announced in a town-wide reverse 911 telephone notification that he has declared a state of emergency for the town.

The declaration comes on the heels of a state of emergency declared by Gov. Dannel Malloy.

In his message, Tesei said, "Current  forecasts indicate tropical force winds arriving Sunday, with Hurricane force winds arriving on Monday then reverting back to Tropical storm force winds on Tuesday. Prolonged widespread power outages are expected."

"Coastal surge will be seen with the Sunday morning high tide and this is
expected to affect us for 4 or 5 tide cycles. At this time residents living
in coastal and low-lying areas of Town, prone to flooding, are strongly
recommended to evacuate during daylight hours Sunday. In the event that
weather conditions dictate, this may be upgraded to a mandatory evacuation.

"Emergency shelters will be opening as follows: Eastern Middle School at 51
Hendrie  Avenue  will be open at Noon on Sunday, Bendheim Western Greenwich Civic  Center  will  be open at 6pm on Sunday. If you have a pet, please be aware that only service animals will be allowed into the shelters.

Menawhile, Greenwich Public Schools spokeswoman Kim Eves said that by 2 p.m., Sunday, the district will announce whether schools will be open on Monday.

 

Original story:

If you haven't started storm preparations yet, Greenwich officials are urging residents to do just that.

With the outer edges of Hurricane Sandy expected to bring rain to the region Sunday evening and higher than normal tides because of the storm's winds and a full moon, residents in low-lying and flood-prone areas should prepare their property and be ready to evacuate, should the town make that order, according to First Selectman Peter Tesei. (And residents should make sure that catch basins in their neighborhoods are clear of leaves and debris.)

Tesei said, "Don't be heroic ... the potential impact for this is it can be extremely severe and probably one of the most severe storms we've encountered." (Please video.)

Should evacuations be necessary, the Bendheim Western Greenwich Civic Center, 449 Pemberwick Rd. will be open as a shelter. And if needed, the town has arranged with the Board of Education to open Eastern Middle School, 51 Hendrie Ave., as a shelter. (Pets are not allowed, except for service dogs.)

(On Saturday morning, the National Weather Service said the higher than normal tides and drenching rains will produce flooding along western Long Island Sound, rivers and streams and cause beach erosion. For their latest forecast for Greenwich, click here.)

The town has set up sandbag operations for residents who may need at the Glenville Volunteer Fire Department on Glenville Road in the Glenville section, the Sound Beach Volunteer Fire Department on Sound Beach Avenue in Old Greenwich, and the Cos Cob Fire Department on East Putnam Avenue.

Tesei said objects that can become airborne in hurricane force winds such as lawn furniture should be brought inside. Owners of boats that can be trailered also are being urged to take their boats out of the water, Tesei said. (For the town's latest update please see the attached PDF.)

The town's emergency operations center will be opened on Sunday at the Greenwich Police Department where town officials will monitor the storm and direct the town's response, Tesei said. He presided over two meetings yesterday with about 25 town and school officials yesterday, including a state-wide conference call with the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and Homeland Security.

During that call officials were told by Connecticut Light & Power utility officials that within 24 hours of the loss of any power in the state, the utility will not give estimated restoration times. Utility crews will be focusing on de-energizing lines so that repairs can be made. (To report power outages, call CL&P at 1-800-286-2000 or online by clicking this link.)

Tesei said residents should expect outages and stock up on prescriptions, water and food for seven to 10 days.

The storm's impact on schools remains to be seen. Decisions on school openings will be announced by Greenwich Public Schools on their website and via ParentLink, the district's online notification service, Tesei said.

Tesei also said that town employees began photographing the town's infrastructure including docks, seawalls and the canopies at the town's beaches on Friday to document their conditions in the event they are damaged. "If there is a federal disaster declaration we want to be able to show what it was like pre-event ... and we will be monitoring our (manpower) costs for reimbursement," Tesei explained.

The town also has brought in large generators to power the town's sewage treatment plant should power be lost.

In addition to posting updates and information on the town's website (www.greenwichct.org), Tesei said residents should follow local media including  WGCH 1490AM, Cablevision's News Channel 12, The Greenwich Post and Greenwich Patch.

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