[Updated] October 29 at 1:25 p.m.
Submitted by the Town of Simsbury
Simsbury Schools will be closed again on Tuesday as Hurricane Sandy makes landfall across the northeast.
With winds from Hurricane Sandy expected to increase to a steady 30 to 40 miles per hour with gusts up to 50 to 60 miles per hour by noon today, Town of Simsbury emergency personnel are urging residents to continue to shelter in place until winds subside.
“We continue to monitor the storm closely," Deputy First Selectman John Hampton said. "And we firmly believe that sheltering in place is the best and safest course of action for our residents." Concurrently, Governor Malloy announced that all major highways (such as I-84 and I-91) will be closed to tractor-trailers at 11:00 a.m. and to all vehicles by 1:00 p.m.
Hampton added that the Town will consider opening a shelter after the storm has subsided and based on a needs assessment. Further information on shelter openings will be provided on the CTAlert and Community Alert systems. To sign up, please visit the Town’s website at www.simsbury-ct.gov. Residents can also receive updates by tuning in to radio stations such as WTIC (AM 1080).
Town of Simsbury Emergency Management Director Kevin Kowalski noted that in the event that winds steadily exceed 50 miles per hour, safety personnel will be unable to respond to emergency calls. “Winds that high make operation of emergency response vehicles unsafe,” added Kowalski, “and we don’t want to endanger either our residents or safety personnel trying to protect them.”
Residents are also urged to use caution with the installation and operation of generators in the event of a power outage. Fire Department personnel and power company officials stress that generators should be installed by licensed electricians – in addition to creating a risk of house fires, improper installation can lead to a “back-feed” into electric lines, endangering the lives of workers making repairs. Further information about the operation of generators can be found under “Portable Generator Safety” at the Town of Simsbury’s “Storm Information Center” on the Town website (www.simsbury-ct.gov).
Facing the prospect of dangerously high winds, Town of Simsbury Board of Education and Town officials closed both the schools and the Town’s offices for the day today. A decision about potential closings on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 will be provided no later than 12:00 noon today.