City officials say Milford is ready for Sandy
City officials say Milford is ready for Hurricane Sandy, and they are prepared to open shelters and issue evacuation warnings if the need arises.
For now, they’re still watching the progress of the storm and laying the groundwork for a thorough response.
At 11 a.m. Friday the center of Hurricane Sandy was located 460 miles south southeast of Charleston, S.C., with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. It is currently a category I hurricane.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting that Sandy will continue in a generally northward direction for the next 24 hours as the storm moves over open water off the southeast U.S. coast.
Sandy is then forecast to turn to the north northeast, pick up some speed and move to a position about 125 miles east of Cape Hatteras, N.C., by 8 a.m. Monday. Sandy is then forecast to intensify and grow in size as the storm begins to interact with an approaching winter type storm system. Sandy is forecast to move northwest to a position over the southern tip of New Jersey by 8 a.m. Tuesday.
With the storm on this track, Connecticut would be in for strong winds, heavy rain, coastal and inland flooding, city officials said.
Assistant Fire Chief Bob Healey said coastal flooding is the biggest concern at this point. The city’s early warning sirens were tested this morning, and firefighters have several mechanisms in place to keep residents up to date on the storm and emergency measures. People can call 203-874-6782 for updates, and the city has an emergency notification system that calls residents who have signed up for the alerts. For information on signing up, go to milfordctalerts.info.
For now, residents should “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst,” said Mayor Ben Blake,
He said residents should be sure they have flashlights and batteries, water and food, and they should not prepare to use candles or to run generators inside their homes if they lose power.
Captain Thomas Thornberg of the Milford Fire Department added that people should not use propane grills indoors, and they should turn off lights and appliances if power is lost to avoid a fire hazard when the power is restored.
The city is in better shape than it was before Tropical Storm Irene in one key aspect, and that is there is better communication with the United Illuminating Co., the mayor said.
He noted that if people lose power, they should call the UI company at 1-800-722-5584; that is the way to get put on the list to have power restored.
“We feel that we’re as ready as we should be,” Blake said, adding that department heads will be meeting Sunday as they get updated information about the storm.
If a shelter needs to be set up, it will most likely be at Jonathan Law High School, as it was during Tropical Storm Irene, and there will be accommodations for pets.
The mayor also said that on Monday, depending on the storm updates, the city will likely contact the state and request vehicles to help with evacuations if they are needed.
Police Chief Keith Mello said his department is ready for the storm.
“Our people are prepared to be ready in a moment’s notice, and will be in it for the long run,” Mello said.