If you’re worried about Hurricane Sandy barreling up the coast you can at least breath a little easy knowing Branford officials are already planning meetings and getting prepared for the storm’s arrival, which is estimated to impact our area early next week according to the latest National Weather Service forecasts.
New for Branford since Irene last wrecked havoc in our backyard, you can actually follow the local weather in real-time online at bfdwx.com thanks the Branford Fire Department and their Davis Weather Station, which is mounted on top of the new headquarters.
The station collects rainfall amounts, wind speed, UV and solar data and radar.
Branford Fire Chief Jack Ahern is an avid weatherbug and also keeps a station at his private residence. We asked him if he’s excited for Sandy and his professional responsibilities still trump his passion for the hobby: “It’s all well and good when a storm is happening and you’re busy but the aftermath is just not fun.”
Coastal neighborhoods are the biggest concern, said Ahern, followed by the threat of extended power outages. Branford residents can check the CL&P power outage data map to keep up to speed about power outages and restoration efforts. A full moon is also expected Tuesday, Oct. 30 said Ahern, which can play into raising tide levels. It's too early to tell if the moon and tide levels will impact the arrival and affects of Sandy, said Ahern.
The biggest thing resident should be doing at this time, while there are still some unknowns regarding the path, arrival and strength of Sandy, is to prepare to be without access to food and water for 72 hours said Branford Police Captain Geoffrey Morgan.
For Hurricane updates, check out Branford Patch Facebook and Twitter.
The First Selectman’s office said via e-mail today: “We are closely monitoring the storm and have scheduled department head meetings to review the town’s plans in preparation for potential impacts from the storm. At this point we are advising residents to be prepared, stay informed and closely monitor the weather.”
Until more updates come here’s what we can tell you:
Public Works Department
Art Baker, head of Branford Public Works Department has confirmed that crews are working around town to remove leaves and debris from storm drains. “Clearing the drains is going to help initially,” said Baker, “but soon as the rain hits and the leaves start to fall – they are going to get clogged again.”
Baker anticipates rain, wind and flooding to be the biggest issues during the storm; the threat of power outages after the storm will be the next concern.
Sand bags will be available for resident starting Friday, Oct. 26 in the afternoon. Small quantities for bags will be available for residents until supplies are gone. Residents are also encouraged to bring their own bags to fill.
The town’s docks at Stony Creek Beach and Branford Point have been hauled out of the water.
What you can do: Help keep storm drains near your home clear. If you have a leaf blower, please help out PWD and clear leaves from the drain areas.
The Fire Department is planning several meetings in anticipation of Sandy’s arrival. Currently all volunteer departments are getting tools ready, preparing their chainsaws and making sure all equipment is gassed-up. Should the need arise, all volunteer companies will be fully staffed starting Monday morning at 8 a.m. There will be extra ambulances on duty should the storm track toward Branford.
The Police Department will operate as the Emergency Operation Center for all departments. Captain Geoffrey Morgan said he is working with other departments to prepare for Sandy’s potential arrival. “There’s a possibility for extended power outages,” Morgan said on Thursday. “It’s not like a summer hurricane where the weather stays in the 70s and 80s. People should be able to prepare, as always, for 72 hours of being on your own, especially if you’re in an area where the police department and emergency officials are telling you to evacuate.” There have been no evacuations issued at this time.
To stay informed about what’s happening around town, sign-up for the town’s B-Informed emergency alert system through the Police Department’s website.
Shelter and Food
Branford High School (permanent generator) and Mary T. Murphy Elementary School (portable generator) will serve as shelters for residents should the need for them arise.
The Fire Department will have MREs (meal ready to eat) available for distribution to those in need. They are also working with Walmart and Big Y to secure water for distribution as well, should the power go out for an extended period.
Town officials will be able to eat at the Fire Department, thanks to their new kitchen facilities. The Community Dining Room will also serve as a center for dining.