October 29, 2012

Bristol ready for whatever Sandy delivers

As the first winds of Hurricane Sandy began to blow in Bristol, officials scurried to make sure the city is as ready as possible for the hammering the storm is expected to deliver during the next 24 hours.
Emergency shelter at Chippens Hill Middle School ready.
“It’s scary thinking about what could happen,” said Cheryl Frearson, who was buying gas on Farmington Avenue. “They make it seem like the end of the world.”
Bristol officials, though, don’t expect anything close.  But they do take the warnings seriously.
Before noon Monday, power outages had already knocked out hundreds of customers in Forestville, including the Manross branch library. Plainville also had about 600 residents without power.
Officials anticipate widespread outages as wires come down in the strong winds later Monday and Tuesday.
Flooding is likely, they said, in parts of town that normally wind up inundated when there are heavy rains, including portions of Frederick Street near Coppermine Brook.
An emergency shelter at Chippens Hill Middle School opened at noon Monday, ready to take in anyone displaced by the storm.
Some companies, including many small businesses, have closed or scaled back their operations as the storm nears Connecticut, including ESPN.
It told many workers to stay home Monday and shifted some SportsCenter broadcasts to its Los Angeles studio to ease the crunch.
Craig Bengtson, vice president for SportsCenter said, “The safety of our Bristol-based employees is paramount. It just makes sense to take advantage of our team in Los Angeles. It’s one of the
reasons why ESPN has a facility there.”
After hearing that state highways would close mid-day to non-essential travel, Mayor Art Ward said that city workers who didn’t have a role to play in dealing with the storm should be sent home early.
The public works department won’t pick up trash, recycling, yard wastes or leaves on Tuesday. Instead, it is pushing collections back one day for the rest of the week, with Friday routes being done on Saturday.
Richard Ladisky, the city’s emergency management director, said the city is planning for a major crisis bt hoping that Sandy brings only “localized flooding ad pockets of outages.”
He said officials, who conducted a major hurricane planning exercise last month,  are ready statewide and in Bristol to cope with the storm.
“There have been a lot of changes and a lot of training and a lot of dedication” to making sure everyone is ready, he said, and “these people have been spot-on” in their responses so far.
“We’re blessed in Bristol,” Ladisky said, to have such professional police, fire and public works personnel and leadership, all of whom recognize they have to work together.
City Councilor Ken Cockayne, who stopped  by the shelter in late morning to see if he could lend a hand, said that Monday morning was little more than “a regular rainstorm” but that worse weather was likely coming.
“We can’t be any more prepared than we are right now,” Cockayne said.
Southington has banned on-street parking Monday and Tuesday. It also closed its library until Wednesday. Stay updated on Southington developments with its police Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Southington-Police-Department/164075689755.

Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

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