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Darien Preps for Hurricane Sandy

Cleaning storm-sewer catch basins, arranging for tree-limb cutting, and eventually sending out a reverse-911 call are all part of Darien town government preparations before Hurricane Sandy is expected to hit.

After the Halloween 2011 nor'easter which left much of Darien powerless for days and other places off the grid much longer, the state, local governments and utilities have tried to be better prepared for the next big storm.

"We tested our Emergency Operations Center this summer, during statewide hurricane exercises," First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said. "Now we get to put it in practice."

Darien officials are expected to meet Friday morning at the Darien Police headquarters to review the town's preparations for Hurricane Sandy, she said.

Town officials get updates every several hours or so from state emergency management officials on the state of the weather among other matters, Stevenson said.

"It's obviously too early to tell what's going to happen, but it seems this storm is very large, it's very widespread," she said. "It could include snow, which can be particularly problematic, because we do still have leaves on the trees.

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See also: Hurricane Sandy News Center for Darien, a central spot for Darien Patch's coverage of the expected storm. You can bookmark the page and quickly find all of our coverage, organized to help you get to it quicker and easier.

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"We have to see what Mother Nature has in store for us and hope that it's less than what the early predictions are anticipating."

As they hope for the best, town officials are trying to prepare for the worst. Here are some of the elements of the preparations:

Electricity service

The town Department of Public Works is making sure its equipment is in working order before the storm, including equipment to cut tree limbs on downed power lines, Stevenson said.

The town also has been making arrangements with private contractors for additional tree cutting if needed, she said.

But private or public crews will need to work with CL&P to make sure power lines are safe, she said. The town has been in touch with its CL&P liason official and she hoped to have that person present at Friday morning's meeting.

Flooding

Town Department of Public Works crews should have catch basins cleaned out before the storm hits town, Stevenson said.

But if a lot of water falls from the sky, typical flood-prone areas of town can expect their typical flooding, including Heights Road and downtown at the Post Road underpass at the New Haven Line railroad tracks, she said.

Snow

Town DPW plows, other trucks and crews will be ready if the storm does bring snow and the streets need plowing, she said.

Communication

A reverse-911 call to residents with a taped message giving safety advice should be expected about 72 hours "before we would anticipate beginning to see of the effects of the storm," Stevenson said.

You

Stevenson offered some advice:

"We've unfortunately been through this door a number of times in recent history, and people should do their preparations as soon as they can. And in the midst of preparing for a storm, always remember to check on your friends and family."

Correction: The Halloween 2011 storm was a nor'easter, not a hurricane, as originally stated.

Chris October 26, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Not meaning to be picky, but the Halloween snowstorm of 2011 was a Nor'easter, not a hurricane. Hurricane Irene stuck last August 28th. It's an important distinction because what we are looking at for next week has the potention to be as severe as those two events combined (probably without the snow, thankfully).
David Gurliacci (Editor) October 26, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Right. My mistake. It was a nor'easter.

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