The weather reports are growing increasingly ominous, and it looks like Farmington will almost certainly get some heavy rain and wind courtesy of "Frankenstorm" Sandy.
The National Weather Service has issued a "Hazardous Weather Outlook" for the area, AT&T has deployed its Network Disaster Recovery team and both CL&P and Gov. Dannel Malloy have opened their emergency operations centers.
Farmington officials have met and planned for personnel and resources to be available during the storm in case of power outages and large-scale flooding. Preparation for an emergency shelter, if needed, have begun but due to concerns about flooding, a final decision on where the shelter would be located have not been made.
As the town, state and utilities prepare, there are several important tasks residents should take care of this weekend, in advance of the storm.
Take Care of Leaves in the Gutters and Storm Drains
Farmington Town Manager Kathy Eagen asked residents to clear debris and leaves from catch basins around homes and businesses. West Hartford Director of Public Works John Phillips also asked residents in that town to be sure the road edges and gutters are clear of leaves. "Leaf-filled gutters and catch basins will lead to an increase of localized street flooding. Please assist your neighborhood and your DPW staff, be prepared, and take some time this weekend to clean the road edge and gutter of your home," Phillips said.
Sign Up for Everbridge, Farmington's Emergency Alert System
It's easy, and it's the best way to ensure that you have the most up-to-date emergency information specific to Farmington.
“The most important step for our residents to take right now is to sign up with the Town’s Everbridge Citizen Alert Notification System and the State of Connecticut CTAlert,” Eagen said. “We need to be able to communicate safety information to people when phone lines are down.” Residents can sign up by visiting (www.farmington-ct.org) and clicking on the “Citizen Alert Notification Sign Up” icon on the home page. Residents can also go to www.CTAlert.gov and sign up for emergency notices. Alerts can be sent directly to your cell phone.
Make Sure You Have a Storm Emergency Kit
CL&P is working hard on public relations in advance of this storm, trying to avoid some of the criticism the company faced from the handling of Tropical Storm Irene and the October snowstorm. The American Red Cross also has extensive information about emergency preparedness, and yes, there's even "an app for that."
A full tank of gas, water, cash, medications, batteries and flashlights are tops on most lists. By Friday afternoon, the Unionville Stop & Shop had already run out of water and batteries and the bread aisle was partially bare.
Safeguard Patio Furniture and Other Outdoor Items
Also from the American Red Cross: "Forecasts are still projecting damaging winds for us from Hurricane Sandy. Since we are already at the end of 'outdoor season,' use this weekend to put away lawn furniture, take down hanging planters, put away grills and store other stuff that could get blown around when Sandy hits us early next week.'"
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One of the differences between Sandy and many other recent storms, is that it is expected to last more than a day. “We’re talking about a (storm) delivery timeframe of substantially longer than perhaps what people are used to,” Gov. Malloy told a gathering of reporters outside his offices at the state capitol Friday morning. “This is not a 12-hour storm. This could be a 36-hour storm with 40-plus mile an hour winds.” Residents should also plan for a minimum of seven inches of rain, he said.
Look for Communication from the Farmington Public Schools
The district is also coordinating with town officials and CL&P to prepare for the storm. In case of closures or delays, the district will notify parents by email, on fpsct.org and on local television and radio stations. In case of a significant power outage, the district will send phone messages to parents.
Keep these emergency numbers on hand:
- Emergency (police, fire and ambulance): 911
- Routine Police and Fire Department calls: (860) 675-2400
- Poison Control: (800) 222-1222
- Emergency Shelter Information: (860) 675-2400
- Power Outage: (800) 286-2000