After conferring with Westport Emergency Management Director Andy Kingsbury, Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff declared a Local Civil Preparedness Emergency in advance of Hurricane Sandy.
Joseloff issued a CodeRed emergency notification to residents Westport residents shortly after the Local Civil Preparedness Emergency was declared Saturday evening.
“I am tonight strongly recommending shoreline Westport residents in flood-prone areas evacuate their homes on Sunday before nightfall,” Joseloff said in the CodeRed emergency notification, adding that residents 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 predict coastal Connecticut will be severely impacted by this storm, he said. The storm will last for a prolonged period, possibly over three or four high tide cycles through Tuesday.
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“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," Joseloff said.
Westport opened a shelter for residents and pets beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday. The shelter is located at Long Lots Elementary School on Hyde Lane. Pet owners are asked to bring their own crate and their 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,” Joseloff said.
The declaration empowers the First Selectman to take various actions including:
- Recommending partial or full evacuations from specific areas of town
- Imposing travel and parking restrictions
- Removing debris or wreckage from publicly or privately-owned land or water
- Requesting state or federal assistance and financial aid
- Invoking emergency assistance agreements with private entities
- Invoking emergency-related mutual aid agreements with other municipalities or government agencies.