By Ed Harris
While it is still unclear how exactly Hurricane Sandy will impact Connecticut, Southington officials are urging residents to begin preparing for the storm.
“The big thing is for our residents to be prepared,” said Southington Town Manager Gary Brumback. “We’re assuming we are going to get hit.”
Brumback has spent time Friday coordinating with other state and local officials on a response to Hurricane Sandy. He said the current weather model has Sandy making landfall late Monday night or early Tuesday morning near Maryland and New York.
All the spare parts appear to be coming together to create what forecasters are calling “Frankenstorm,” a monster combination of high wind, heavy rain, extreme tides and maybe snow that could cause havoc along the East Coast just before Halloween next week.
Hurricane Sandy, having blown through Haiti and Cuba on Thursday, continues to barrel north. A wintry storm is chugging across from the West. And frigid air is streaming south from Canada.
And if they meet early Tuesday around New York or New Jersey, as forecasters predict, they could create a big wet mess that settles over the nation’s most heavily populated corridor and reaches as far as Ohio.
“It’s looking like a very serious storm that could be historic,” said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the forecasting service Weather Underground. “Mother Nature is not saying `trick-or-treat.’ It’s just going to give tricks.”
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster Jim Cisco, who coined the nickname Frankenstorm, said: “We don’t have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting.”
Government forecasters said there is a 90 percent chance — up from 60 percent two days earlier — that the East will get pounded starting Sunday and stretching past Halloween on Wednesday.
Southington officials are urging people to prepare in advance.
“The best things folks can do is make sure their yard is cleaned up,” Brumback said.
Town officials are asking residents to secure their property and bring in such items as lawn furniture and garbage cans. Trim what trees or shrubs that you can. Insure that garage doors are properly closed (otherwise structural damage could occur). Have a battery powered radio. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and program emergency contacts into all phones.
Officials are also asking for residents to prepare a household emergency kit. The kit should include three days worth of food and water, flashlight, batteries, pet supplies, medications, soap and important family documents.
In the event of an emergency, the town may open a temporary shelter at the Calendar House, 388 Pleasant Street. Their phone number is 621-3014.
“Everyone is planning for the worst, but hoping for the best,” Brumback said.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.