The Farmington emergency shelter was up and running by Monday afternoon – a familiar scene to those who had visited during last year’s storm.
Farmington Social Services Director Nancy Parent was waiting by the door to sign in residents who planned to stay overnight at Farmington High School.
“We saw last year what worked and what didn’t so we’re in really good shape,” she said.
Cots were stacked in the gym, some already made up with the bedding and belongings of about a dozen residents who chose to settle in ahead of the storm Monday afternoon.
“The primary reason to open the shelter early is that once the electricity goes down, it’s hard for people to know it’s available,” explained Town Council Chairman Jeff Hogan. “We felt as a public service, it’s easier to have it up and running beforehand.”
The shelter was prepared to accommodate both residents and their pets. Those that bring animals are asked to bring proof of up-to-date rabies vaccines and to keep dogs leashed.
The threat of flooding that troubled Farmington during the October 2011 snowstorm seemed less likely Monday afternoon, though officials in the emergency operations center were carefully monitoring the situation.
Police, fire and town officials opened the EOC Monday morning and will remain there until the storm and its aftermath have passed. Director of Fire and Rescue Services Mary-Ellen Harper had brought a sleeping bag and Police Lt. Marshall Porter was prepared to cook for the group. In addition, Rep. Chris Murphy stopped by with doughnuts earlier in the day.
Around town, roads were mostly empty and many businesses dark. Businesses expected to reopen sometime Tuesday and others planned for Wednesday, if there was power.
Farmington schools and EXCL are closed today, as are Tunxis Community College and Renbrook. John Dempsey Hospital remains open but outpatient appointments are canceled for today. Farmington Libraries plan to reopen Wednesday.
Power outages rose steadily during the evening, almost doubling each hour as Hurricane Sandy got closer and winds picked up.