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Westonites Flood Stores for Hurricane Supplies

WESTON, Conn. – First Selectman Gayle Weinstein urged all residents to prepare their homes for possible major flooding and for those who live near the Saugatuck River to evacuate if possible as Hurricane Irene stormed up the East Coast.

Joyce Fensterstock was doing some last-minute preparations Saturday afternoon, buying water, dog food and other supplies at Peter's Weston Market.

"Yesterday, I took the pool furniture in, took the hanging plants and put them in the greenhouse and I made arrangements for my kids and relatives to come to my house," said Fensterstock. "I charged everything, put gas in my car and got money."

Peter's Weston Market was well stocked with water bottles and gallon containers, with stacks in almost every aisle. Fensterstock said the crowds haven't been overwhelming.

"I got an email from a relative on Long Island who said there was a fight over the last case of soda," she said.

Customers were flowing in and out of Weston Hardware and Houseware on Saturday afternoon, looking for batteries, rope, flashlights, propane, tarps and more. The store had only small maglite and keychain flashlights available. And there were no C batteries or D batteries. The store was out of propane but was trying to get more by the end of the day.

Next door, customers at Peter's Spirit Shop were clearing out the shelves. "Snowstorms are good for business – this one is the best I've seen ever. It's very good for business. I've seen a lot of new faces," said owner Larry Vavrek.

Rain and thunderstorms are expected Saturday night with heavy rainfall and an east wind of 14 to 19 mph increasing to 31 to 41 mph and gusting to 55 mph, according to the National Weather Service . A north wind on Sunday of 55 to 65 mph can increase to 50 to 70 mph with 85 mph gusts. Weston may see rainfall amounts of 3 to 4 inches Saturday night and more than 4 inches Sunday.

The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection issued an update on Hurricane Irene Saturday morning, which stated:

"Irene is forecast to move up along the New Jersey Coast early Sunday morning and make landfall in the Bridgeport area around 11 a.m. as a Category 1 hurricane. The first effects from Irene are expected to begin this evening with rain and tropical storm force winds moving into Connecticut between 10 p.m. and midnight. Hurricane force winds are forecast to arrive along the coast at 7 a.m. Sunday morning. The rain is also expected to become heavy at times by midnight. Very heavy rain at times (especially in Western Connecticut) is expected to continue from midnight tonight through the passage of the center of Irene around 11 a.m. tomorrow morning and into the mid-afternoon.

"River flooding from Irene is forecast to be moderate to major with the more severe flooding on smaller rivers and in urban areas. Major coastal flooding is possible with storm surges of 4 to 7 feet possible in Western Long Island Sound during high tide Sunday morning at 11 a.m."

What are your last -minute preparations before Hurricane Irene hits? Leave your comments in the box below.

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