With Hurricane Sandy heading up the East Coast, Maplewood could see not just a repeat of last year's Halloween storm, but potentially a weather event along the lines of 2011's Hurricane Irene.
The National Weather Service says the state is increasingly more likely to feel the impact of Sandy, which slammed eastern Cuba Thursday morning. Depending on the track of the storm, our area could see significant winds, rainfall and flooding.
Patch is keeping an eye on the storm. We will keep you updated on the forecast and what steps the township is taking to prepare.
Township officials met Thursday afternoon for an emergency planning meeting, said Mayor Vic DeLuca. Department heads and Township Administrator Joseph Manning made contingency plans based on current information about the storm.
DeLuca issued an email blast to residents today at 11:28 a.m.:
The Township is closely monitoring the weather situation as forecasters track Hurricane Sandy. We want to remind you and your family to take this time to review your emergency plan. Please visit the NJ Office of Emergency Management's (OEM) website at http://www.state.nj.us/njoem/plan/kit-plan.html to help you be prepared in the event we are impacted by this storm.
To report downed wires or power outages, customers should call PSE&G's Customer Service line at 1-800-436-PSEG. PSE&G uses an automated system to handle customer calls as efficiently as possible. Customers who get an automated response when calling PSE&G are encouraged to use it, as it is designed to route their calls to the right destination quickly
I will continue to update you as more information becomes available.
"There are still various projected paths this storm may take but we will prepare for a significant weather event," said DeLuca on Thursday.
Capt. John Perna of the Maplewood Police Department said the department is preparing its officers and has issued an operational order for the duration of the storm. "We are beefing up staff along the way," said Perna.
He urged residents to visit the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management website to get more information on how to prepare for the storm.
The Department of Public Works (DPW) is getting trucks, equipment, barricades and manpower ready, said director Eric Burbank.
"We are preparing a list of firefighters to call in for duty in the event the storm is as severe as forecasted," said Maplewood Fire Department Captain Joseph Callaghan.
Capt. Callaghan issued the following reminders to residents:
- Have sufficient water and food on hand
- Have required medications replenished
- Stay away from any downed power lines
- Check those sump pumps
- Most importantly, stay inside!
"You would be amazed at home many people are out during these storms," Callaghan said. "The Fire Department will respond on all emergencies, both Fire and EMS, but please understand that there are priority calls."
Over the last year, the township has taken steps to prepare for another natural disaster. Read here how Mayor DeLuca described the township's disaster preparedness plan this summer. Also, recently DeLuca as part of the Mayor's Council on Rahway Rivershed Flood Control signed an inter-local agreement as the first step towards a South Mountain detention basin.
Is Maplewood ready if Hurricane Sandy hits town? Tell us in the comments below!