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Westport Schools, Beaches Closed Monday, Tuesday [UPDATED]

Waterfront residents are strongly encouraged to evacuate their homes before sundown, according to a statement released by First Selectman Gordon Joseloff.

 

Updated 10/28 9:10 p.m.

Gov. Malloy signed an executive order extending the in-person voter registration deadline in Connecticut to Thursday, November 1, at 8 p.m. for those who intend to vote in the upcoming election.

Updated 10/28 4:28 p.m.

Westport Emergency Operations Officials are urging waterfront residents in the strongest possible terms to evacuate their homes before sundown today, according to a statement released by town officials.

“This is an unprecedented storm,” First Selectman Gordon Joseloff following his team’s briefing with federal and state disaster preparedness officials. “This will be a storm of long duration, high winds and record-setting flooding. Take Storm Irene from last year and double it.” he said.

All Westport Schools will be closed Monday and Tuesday with all after school activities suspended as well. All town beaches and marinas will be closed until further notice beginning at sunset today. The Westport Police have announced that there will be no public or vehicle access to the waterfront neighborhoods at Old Mill, Compo Beach, and the Saugatuck Shores beginning at 8 a.m. Monday morning.

The town’s storm shelter at Long Lots School, 13 Hyde Lane, opened at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Residents planning to going to shelter are reminded to bring a change of clothes, bedding and pillows, any special medications or dietary items, and a working flashlight with extra batteries.

The Westport storm shelter will accept pets as long as they are in a travel cage. People bring their pets should also bring enough pet food for three days, necessary pet medications and a leash. Pets will be secured in a safe room at the shelter, but are not allowed to remain with their owners.

Westport Public Works has sand and bags available for all residents at the Town Garage on the Sherwood Island Connector, and has been quickly building a sand berm along the entire Compo Beach to offer that neighborhood some protection from the estimated 15 foot wind-driven waves that are expected on top of the storm surge.

Updated, 10/28 2:28 p.m.

The Annual Halloween Parade down Main Street and events in Town Hall scheduled for Monday, Oct. 29 have been cancelled due to the impending storm. The parade, originally scheduled for Monday, Oct. 29 at 3 p.m. will not be rescheduled.

Updated, 10/28 12:05 p.m.

The Westport Cinema Initiative's showing of "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" at Westport Town Hall has been canceled.

The following was posted on the organization's Facebook page:

"We apologize but we feel due to weather concerns and impending evacuations that we should cancel tonight's event. We will reschedule it as soon as possible. If you already purchased tickets we will honor those purchases at the rescheduled event or you can request a refund by sending a note to info@westportcinema.org. Thank you for your understanding and stay safe!"


Updated, 10/27 9:54 p.m.

Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff today at 6 p.m.issued the following CodeRed emergency notification to residents:

This is Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff with a Hurricane Sandy CodeRed update from Westport’s emergency operations center at 6 p.m.
As of 5 p.m. today, after conferring with Emergency Management Director Andy Kingsbury, I have declared a Local Civil Preparedness Emergency.


Under the authority granted by this decree, I am tonight strongly recommending shoreline Westport residents in flood-prone areas evacuate their homes on Sunday before nightfall.

You may move vehicles to higher ground to either the commuter lot just off the northbound I-95 Exit 17 or the Franklin Street lot.

National Weather Service forecasters and state officials tell us coastal Connecticut will be severely impacted by this storm. And it will be for a prolonged period, possibly over three or four high tide cycles through Tuesday.

Forecasters are saying we expect coastal tide surges to be two to four feet above the level of Hurricane Irene and to produce the worst flooding since the 1938 Hurricane.

We will open a shelter for residents and pets beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday. The shelter will be at Long Lots Elementary School on Hyde Lane. If you come with a pet, please bring your own crate and your own pet food.
Winds are expected to bring down trees and power lines and you should prepare to be without power for a week or more. Those on well water should store water in advance as best you can.

Westport has mobilized all its emergency resources in advance of this storm but once the waters rise, we will not risk the lives of first responders to try to rescue those shoreline residents who did not heed our warnings.
Please keep watch on local media, the town website, www.westportct.gov , and Staples radio station WWPT at 90.3 FM for up to date information.

Original Story

 

Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said Thursday Westport is preparing for a major storm next week as forecasters say it is increasing likely that Hurricane Sandy will have an impact on the area.

“We don’t yet know how bad it it is going to be, but the prudent thing is to follow the adage ‘prepare for the worst and hope for the best,’” he said.

Joseloff said he met today with his emergency preparedness team which includes representatives of police, fire, Human Services, the Westport-Weston Health District, and the American Red Cross. Additional discussions were held with Public Works and Parks and Recreation directors.

Westport also participated in a National Weather Service regional briefing about the storm and its possible track and impact.

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“We can away with the impression that Westport will definitely be impacted, but at this point we do not know how severely,” Joseloff said. “At one point, it was mentioned this storm could be as severe as the 1992 nor’easter that flooded many low-lying Westport areas.”

Joseloff said preparations include checking emergency equipment, including boats for possible rescue use, topping off generators, and clearing debris from rivers, streams, and drains.

He said the town was urging owners to remove boats this weekend from marinas and to store or tie down any outdoor furniture and fittings.

In addition, he urged homeowners to take the usual storm precautions of storing extra water, canned food, batteries, and medications as well as other necessities. A special link to flood information has been established:www.westportct.gov/floodinformation.

The town will open its emergency operations center and use CodeRed, the Internet, and Staples FM station WWPT 90.3 to offer emergency updates to residents, Joseloff said.

“With leaves falling off the trees, it is imperative that residents help us keep storm drains clear,” he said. “Please take time to familiarize yourselves where the drains are located.”

Joseloff said town officials are working closely with state officials and Connecticut Lights & Power Company on storm preparations.

“We hope the lessons learned and steps taken from last year’s events will help us get through this one better,” he said.

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