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Weston declares emergency; town is ready for the storm

SUNDAY, 4PM – Weston First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said Sunday afternoon that the town is well-prepared for the arrival of Sandy.

The town began making preparations on Thursday when storm tracking was predicting Weston would be impacted. Highway crews cleared storm drains and culverts to mitigate possible flooding, and they are on stand-by as the storm approaches.

More Sandy News

Ms. Weinstein met with the town’s full emergency management team, as well as volunteers from the Weston Community Coalition’s Neighborhood Captain program, at 8 a.m. this morning and issued a declaration of emergency for the town at 10 a.m.

The silver lining in the situation, the first selectman said, is that these are the situations in which Weston shines. “It’s such a fantastic team effort. You get to see how well everyone works together … during an emergency, everyone pulls together. We’re really a well-oiled machine at this point,” she said.

Power outages

Officials are urging residents to take precautions and to plan on the likelihood of being without power for several days.

“This is Weston. We will lose power,” Ms. Weinstein said.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has asked Connecticut Light and Power (CL&P) to send at least one line crew to every municipality by tonight, Ms. Weinstein said, and Weston expects one to arrive by midnight.

“The town is in good shape and ready. The wild card is always CL&P,” the first selectman said.

She was dismayed, she said, by a release from the power company that said it has requested 2,000 workers to help with “what may be a major restoration effort” — but, she pointed out, CL&P has not yet secured those workers. CL&P invited media outlets to attend the arrival of approximately 50 workers to CL&P’s Hartford area work center this afternoon. The company does have approximately 400 line workers and 300 tree-trimming workers ready to respond, it said Sunday.

Shelter in place

Ms. Weinstein said town officials are asking Westonites to either evacuate before the storm arrives tonight — especially those in flood-prone areas — or to shelter in place during the storm. People are urged to stay inside and off the roads while the storm is underway, and that could be awhile; it is predicted the town will be impacted by the full strength of Sandy for about 36 hours.

There are preliminary supplies on hand, such as water, MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), and blankets, should the town need to open a comfort station or emergency shelter at Weston High School, but, Ms. Weinstein said, that will not happen until the brunt of the storm has passed and it’s safe for people to be on the roads.

“We don’t want people trying to make their way to a shelter in the middle of a dangerous storm,” she said. But, if it looks like there will be extended power outages, the town will set up facilities to help people deal with that, she added.

Schools and town services

Superintendent Colleen Palmer notified parents today that school will be closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Ms. Weinstein supports that call, and said it gives families a chance to plan ahead without having to wait for notice of school closures.

A decision about the rest of the week will be made Tuesday afternoon, once actual storm damage can be assessed.

The Senior Activities Center, located in part of Hurlbutt Elementary School, will also be closed as long as school is not in session.

As of this afternoon, Ms. Weinstein planned to open Weston Town Hall at 8 a.m. Monday morning. Town hall will likely close by noon for the safety of town employees, and it is already scheduled to be closed on Tuesday, along with other town buildings such as the Town Hall Annex, Jarvis House and the library.

Precautions

A CodeRed Alert sent from the Weston Office of Emergency Management asked residents to take the following precautions:

  • Suggested evacuation of properties prone to flooding
  • Do not allow pets to roam free outside until after the storm has passed.
  • Stay indoors. Do not travel during the storm.
  • Secure windows, doors, and outdoor items such as patio furniture, grills, etc.
  • Treat all downed wires as if they are live — most are energized.
  • Only call 911 with life-threatening emergencies.
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