Southeastern Connecticut Towns Prepare for Possible Effects From Jose

Under a Tropical Storm Watch, communities in Southeastern Connecticut are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Jose’s path.

In Old Saybrook, the police department has a trailer loaded with emergency shelter supplies and palettes of water bottles just in case the town feels the effects of Jose.

“We’re certainly getting things ready if we have to respond to assist our citizens,” said Chief of Police Michael Spera, who is also the town’s Emergency Management Director.

In case the power is knocked out and traffic lights don’t work, Old Saybrook police are prepared to set up stop signs at intersections to free up officers from having to do traffic control.

“Obviously, our largest concern is certainly widespread power outages because for some of our residents no power means no water,” Spera said, pointing out that half of the residents rely on well water that is tied to their power.

At Saybrook Hardware on Main Street, assistant manager Emma Loso said this Monday has been a bit busier than normal.

“I’ve noticed a lot of batteries, people like to stock up on that,” she said, “some like sandbags if people on the shoreline expect the flooding.”

Loso said she thinks the people of Old Saybrook are better prepared for hurricane season after Irene and Sandy.

“It’s scary but I think that people learned from that experience,” Loso said.

In Westbrook, the town’s emergency management director Donald Izzo is organizing preparations for Jose with police, fire, local schools and Eversource.

“We’re only halfway through this hurricane season and we need to watch this season very carefully,” said Izzo, who has been tracking Jose for several days. “By Wednesday, Thursday of last week, this became top of our priority.”

The top concerns for his town are strong winds toppling trees and taking down power lines, Izzo told NBC Connecticut.

“This is probably going to be what we can expect as a nor’easter without the snow, but our concern is the leaves on the trees,” he said.

Westbrook’s emergency management center will be staffed overnight Tuesday into Wednesday when the town expects to feel the effects of Jose.

“By Wednesday morning 6 a.m.,” Izzo said, “we feel we’ll have a nice picture of what happened overnight.”

Another concern in shoreline towns in Southeastern Connecticut is the potential for flooding in low-lying areas, Izzo said.

“I wanted to take her for a walk before you know the winds got too strong,” said Diane Munson Monday afternoon on the Westbrook beach.

Munson now lives in DEEP River, but she grew up in Westbrook.

“When I see what happened in Florida and I said oh my god its going to start coming to the shoreline,” Munson said, “I mean that’s my feeling, that’s how I feel about it.”

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