Almost a year to the day of last October's freak snowstorm that devastated Manchester and left many residents without power for more than a week, the town is again facing the possibility of a severe storm that could greatly impact the area over the Halloween weekend as Hurricane Sandy slowly moves up the eastern seaboard on a possible collision course with Connecticut.
General Manager Scott Shanley told Manchester Patch Friday afternoon that the latest weather projections the town received has Sandy impacting the tip of New Jersey early Tuesday morning, but not directly touching down in Connecticut.
Still, Shanley said, the town's emergency operations staff has been meeting over the last several days to plan a course of action should Sandy change direction and impact Connecticut directly.
"The picture keeps getting better for us," Shanley said Friday afternoon. "We're preparing for what may, but we are hoping that this is going to go south of us."
Shanley said that there are currently no plans to open the town's emergency shelter at the Senior Center on East Middle Turnpike, but that those plans will be reassessed Monday morning when a more accurate path for Sandy becomes clear. Last October, when the freak snowstorm plowed through Manchester, the shelter at the senior center became so crowded that the town was forced to move the shelter to Manchester High School; the shelter remained open for almost a week as power restoration efforts throughout town were hampered by the severe damaged caused by the storm.
A liaison for Connecticut Light and Power, the utility company that provides power to Manchester homes and businesses, will be in town Monday morning to help the town coordinate potential power restoration efforts should Sandy knock out power in areas of town.
Shanley said that Public Works personnel were also busy securing any items that could be blown away Friday, such as trash or recycling receptacles.
The town has also encouraged residents to clear storm drains of leaves and other debris to prevent street flooding. Residents can obtain storm updates and information throughout the weekend on the town’s emergency broadcast radio station located at 1630 on the AM dial.
"Right now, we are trying to make sure that we are in a good position to mobilize and activate if we need to," Shanley said. "I think we'll get a better idea Monday the way this storm is going to go."