Story updated Oct. 28, 2012 at 2:52 p.m.
As Hurricane Sandy makes her way north towards the mid-Atlantic and New England regions, local officials are preparing for the worst. Schools and government offices will be closed on Monday and only 'essential safety personnel' will be required to work.
The Simsbury Emergency management team met with town officials and members of the board of selectman Sunday morning to review emergency plans before Hurricane Sandy arrives.
"The good new is that Simsbury is well-prepared for this storm," Deputy First Selectman John Hampton said during a press briefing following the meeting. "We stand vigilant and ready to address this major storm."
Simsbury Emergency Management Director Kevin Kowalski said officials are expecting the worst aspect of the storm to be strong winds. Residents are advised to avoid driving during the storm and if residents need to be on the road to exercise extreme caution.
Public works crews have been hard at work clearing leaves and debris from catch basins to help prevent flooding, but the winds are expected to pose the greatest threat.
“At this point in time we expect a maximum of 5” of rain – not enough to cause the Farmington River to flood – and the real danger is winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour," Kowalski said.
The most recent forecast from the National Hurricane Center is predicting landfall Monday night along the New Jersey shore, although the exact track has yet to be determined. Forecasters warn that strong winds and rain associated with the storm will hit the region late Sunday and could continue through Tuesday night.
The town of Simsbury was recently informed that Connecticut Light and Power has agreed to have a line crew embedded with the town's public works crews in order to clear roads and power lines that are taken down by the wind.
Town officials urge residents to contact utilities companies to report outages as they happen not to wait for others to report them. Utilities determine their emergency plans based on these calls.
The emergency management team will meet again Monday morning at 8 a.m. to assess the situation.
Currently, Sandy is maintaining her hurricane status with winds in excess of 80 mph and high winds will continue through the duration of the storm.
Simsbury emergency management officials are asking residents to consider the following tips in the event that Sandy has any direct impact on the town:
Officials urged residents to plan to have plenty of cash, gasoline, and water on hand. Plan to shelter in place and emergency shelters will be opened as needed. Check Simsbury Patch for updates on emergency shelters.
Residents should stay off the roads as much as possible during the storm as high winds and heavy rain will cause dangerous conditions.
"Residents should consider driving only under emergency circumstances," Administrative Director Tom Cooke said.
Officials warned that emergency shelters will not open until the tail-end of the storm when weather conditions allow for safe travel.
Simsbury Schools have not issued a decision on closings prior to the storm. School officials will release notification of any closings later today.
Simsbury residents should sign up for emergency alerts using the following sources:
- Simsbury Community Alerts- Sign up here to receive alerts via email, text, and phone.
- CT Alerts- Sign up here to receive statewide alerts via email, text, and phone.
- Radio- in the case of power outages, tune to WTIC AM 1080 for local information.
Check Simsbury Patch frequently for more updates on Hurricane Sandy as the storm develops across the region.