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Danbury Prepares for Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy remains south of Florida, and Danbury is preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best. The best is the storm takes a right turn into the Atlantic without hitting Connecticut. The worst is the storm arrives and takes time leaving.

The best thing city officials say about Hurricane Sandy is if it arrives in Danbury at all, the air will be warm and it won't snow. It won't be a repeat of last year's Halloween storm.

The worst case this year?

"Some models have it dropping a lot of rain," said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who has been talking with Emergency Preparedness Director Paul Estefan, and he expects to start meeting with Fire Chief Geoffrey Herald and Police Chief Al Baker Thursday or Friday. "We'll be talking to Antonio (Iadarola) in Public Works."

"What we're doing now is trimming trees, clearing catch basins, removing any blockages under bridges," Boughton said.

A lot of rain can be a problem, said David Day, superintendent of public utilities in Danbury, which monitors and runs the city's water supply. Day said the city's three largest reservoirs, West Lake, East Lake and Marjorie are about 85 percent full, which gives the city a place to store water before the city floods. During Hurricane Floyd, the city's reservoirs started the storm at about 75 percent full, and when Floyd left, they were at 100 percent.

"It all depends on where it rains," Day said. In 2011, a storm dropped a tremendous amount of rain in the valley along the Padanaram Road and brook, which led to flooding on Padanaram Road and brook, but not in other parts of Danbury. That caught the city off guard. "You always take these things seriously."

Day said one thing Public Utilities does before big storms is check the city's dams to make sure they're in good condition. They are inspected every year.

Fire Chief Geoff Herald said what he will do Thursday and Friday is make sure the department has enough staff on hand from late Sunday through Tuesday, which is an early estimate for Hurricane Sandy's arrival. He will talk to leaders of the volunteer departments, who help the city by pumping out flooded basements around town. The fire trucks and other vehicles and equipment will be fueled and checked to make sure it is ready to go.

Herald, Boughton and Estefan said the city will keep refining the storm arrival estimate over the next few days to make sure the city has workers on hand. It remains possible the storm will turn into the Atlantic and avoid Danbury entirely.

"The mayor and I were discussing it at length today," Estefan said Wednesday. "We're planning as we would for any storm. We talk to the department heads, and make sure they're aware of what's going on."

Estefan said Public Works knows they must have trucks ready, the back-up generators must be working and fueled, the fuel to refill trucks is on hand and all the equipment is ready to go. The Forestry Department will prepare its chain saws and other equipment in case trees cause problems.

Estefan said one benefit of last year's Halloween storm is those trees and branches will not be an issue this year. The Halloween storm knocked out power to more than 750,000 people in Connecticut and it knocked down trees, branches and wires shutting 100 state roads. Dozens of roads in Danbury were closed by fallen branches and wires.

"Those branches are gone," Estefan said.

Duffy7 October 29, 2012 at 06:29 AM
We can all help clear storm drains to reduce flooding..when you walk your dog..bring a broom or good leaf kicking shoes...Empty the dog's insides and on the way clear storm drains while on your walk to reduce flooding. It takes 2 minutes but is not something all the city workers can do themselves.

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