WESTPORT, Conn. – With an estimated 13-foot storm surge expected to impact Westport as Hurricane Sandy barrels down within the next 24 hours, First Selectman Gordon Joseloff strongly urges waterfront residents to evacuate their homes by Sunday night.
“This is an unprecedented storm,” Joseloff said in news release Sunday following his team’s briefing with federal and state disaster preparedness officials. “This will be a storm of long duration, high winds and record-setting flooding. Take Storm Irene from last year and double it.”
The storm surge will be about three to four feet higher than during Irene, Joseloff said. The town, he added, is “bracing” for at least three waves of flooding, the first expected to begin at midnight with high tide.
“Flooding this time will be deeper and longer because of the full moon Monday night, and because this storm is a slow mover,” Joseloff said.
Hoping to provide waterfront areas with some protection from the estimated 15 foot wind-driven waves expected on top of the storm surge, bulldozer crews have built a sand wall along Compo Beach. Sandbag making materials are also available at the Public Works garage on Sherwood Island Connector.
Public safety crews will be going door-to-door in the waterfront neighborhoods urging residents to evacuate before the wind and rain begins. Long Lots Elementary School, 13 Hyde Lane, will open at 3 p.m. as an emergency shelter.
Residents planning to go to shelter are reminded to bring a change of clothes, bedding and pillows, any special medications or dietary items, and a working flashlight with extra batteries, Joseloff said.
Pets will be allowed at the shelter so long as owners bring their own travel crates and pet food. Pet owners should bring enough food for three days, as well as pet medications and leashes. All pets will be housed in an area away from their owners, Joseloff said.
Beginning at sunset Sunday, all town beaches and marinas will be closed. Beginning 8 a.m. Monday, there will be no public or vehicle access to the waterfront neighborhoods at Old Mill, Compo Beach, and the Saugatuck Shores.
“Please, please, please stay off the roads. Do not go out sightseeing during the storm,” Joseloff said. “The roads will be dangerous with wires and branches down. Only emergency vehicles and public safety personnel should be on the road during the storm. And frankly after the forecast I heard this morning, I’m very worried about them too.”
For updates about the storm, residents can check back with The Westport Daily Voice , monitor the town website and tune into WWPT 90.3 FM.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.