WESTPORT, Conn. – Battery-powered lanterns and Size D batteries were the top-selling items at Westport Hardware on Friday as residents prepared for Hurricane Sandy, which is expected to impact the area early next week.
With news that Sandy is predicted to merge with a winter storm, thus creating what officials have dubbed a “Frankenstorm,” the store’s entire supply of D batteries and battery-powered lanterns was sold out before it closed, store employee Sarah Velez said.
“We’re not the only ones locally who sold out of batteries,” Velez said. “Customers told us they couldn’t find batteries anywhere. People are going crazy over this storm.”
Other items in short supply Friday included flashlights and gas containers, Velez said. Logs, fire starter logs, tarps and bungee cords, wick lanterns, sternos and butane-powered stove-top burners were also selling fast, she added.
For residents with children or pets, Velez said the store recommends battery-powered lanterns over wick lanterns, because traditional lanterns can be a fire hazard if knocked over.
Expecting a surge of customers over the weekend into Monday, the store ordered an emergency shipment of items, which Velez said should arrive Sunday at the latest. Because these items are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, Velez encourages residents to shop earlier rather than waiting until the last minute.
Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff and Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury also urged residents to start preparing for the storm. Although it is not expected to make landfall until Tuesday, forecasters said the area will likely start feeling its effects Sunday night, Kingsbury said. As such, residents should have all their emergency preparations in place by then, he said.
Most recent storm path projections predict the storm will not directly hit Westport. However, Joseloff and Kingsbury said significant coastal flooding, storm surges and power outages are of great concern.
“It could be potentially worse than Irene,” Kingsbury said. “That’s what we’re planning for.”
With significant flooding expected, residents can build their own sandbags at the Public Works garage from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Also, Joseloff said residents are urged to move their cars to high ground by Sunday night. Any residents who plan to evacuate should do so by Sunday night, they said.
Joseloff and his emergency management team will continue to monitor the storm, and will meet again Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
Check back with The Westport Daily Voice for updates before, during and after the storm.
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