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(Updated) Vernon Making Preparations for a Potential Visit From Hurricane Sandy

If the shelter is activated at VCMS, it will be pet-friendly.

Updated, Oct. 26, 1:51 p.m.

If Sandy decides to venture into New England and sling some mud around, Vernon will be ready for her.

The hurricane could hit early next week and where it will make direct landfall differs up the East Coast in different models.

As Friday morning progressed, the model pointed more and more to a direct hit to the Mid-Atlantic or New England regions. AccuWeather, in an e-mail alert sent out at 10:40 a.m., said Sandy could take on the characteristics of a massive Nor'Easter while colliding with other weather systems and a full moon:

"It will not be a purely tropical system, with a core of powerful winds near the center, but rather more like a Nor'Easter, with strong winds over a larger area.
Damaging winds will affect areas from Virginia up into New York and New England, leading to widespread power outages and property damage.

"A storm surge of 5 to 10 feet, perhaps higher in spots, near and north of where the center comes in will combine with astronomical high tide to lead to devestating coastal flooding, and heavy rain will lead to flooding over a large area around the storm. Heavy wet snow can be problem for the West Virginia mountains."

A top local official said the town always bets on the high side.

"We have to be ready for a direct hit, regardless of probability," Emergency Management Director Michael Purcaro said this week. "It's about due diligence and preparing for the worst-case scenario."

Mayor George Apel called a department head meeting for today at 9 a.m.

Meanwhile residents were bopping around all day Thursday filling their gas cans and tanks, buying provisions like food and batteries and buying generators. If the storm hits Monday, it would be exactly one year from the Oct. 2011 freak snowstorm.

Vernon Center resident Nikki Wilson drove to Cabela's in East Hartford with Daughters Alexa and Teagen for a generator. The store had a dozen left when she arrived there at about 5 p.m.

Many stores were predicting that the local generator inventory would be wiped out by Friday.

The town had all its fuel tanks topped off this week, Purcaro said.

All backup generators in town have been inspected, he said.

Vernon Center Middle School would be used as the primary shelter if people  are forced from their homes, Purcaro said. It would also serve as a regional shelter. Purcaro said residents of other towns must first turn to resources there before heading to Vernon.

The shelter would be able to accommodate pets.

Bottled water and meals ready to eat will be "strategically utilized," if the need arises, Purcaro said.

The community emergency response team will be activated in the event of an emergency, Purcaro said.

Crews will be arranged in 12-hour shifts, Purcaro said.

The town's surveillance drone aircraft will be used for inspections, Purcaro said.

The Department of Public Works is making sandbags available to residents who might need them and distribution particulars will be announced today, Purcaro said.

The Ready.gov Web site provides comprehensive tops for hurricane survival, Purcaro said.

By noon, cars were lining up foir gas at area stations.

Town officials will be providing storm preparedness-related updates throughout the day.

Elle Smith Fagan October 26, 2012 at 02:00 PM
God bless all preparedness workers and thanks for the warning, so we can be sure to be prepared at home and work as well. TIP: Be sure to be positive about preparedness with others, especially children and very elderly, who may become frightened. Try to communicate the idea that community preparedness and response co-operation is part of what makes us worthwhile. Thoreau said it, "It is the highest duty of the soul to be of good cheer." At challenging moments , a positive attitude to response activities can really help the vulnerable to co-operate well. My Dad's and Mom's fine way with us, in such times, motivated my work with Red Cross in two wars and at Y2K Burnout Preparedness and lots of similar projects and shelter work in-between. Until a mobility injury stopped me, I used to help shelters and red cross in wars, being of use in "the little bad moment" - thinking of making a wall display of the the little medals, thank-yous and pins from those days to look at and remember. I do writings and counseling on it now , on request, and donate my art to fundraise for helping organizations.
Mitch Sullivan October 26, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Vernon has a drone aircraft ???? News to me.... Does tightwad Mayor Apel know about this ??
Chris Dehnel (Editor) October 26, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Here's the drone http://patch.com/A-w1v6
Vernon Taxpayer October 26, 2012 at 10:17 PM
I was on Warren Ave today and someone was mowing their leaves into the road. People please DO NOT rake your leaves into the road this is a traffic hazard! It will also cause the storm drains to become come blocked which then causes flooding. Please rake the leaves to your curb only not in the road.
Elle Smith Fagan October 27, 2012 at 02:02 AM
super thank you

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