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Mayor Provides Update on City's Storm Plans; State of Emergency Declared [Update with Sunday video]

The city will open an emergency shelter at Brien McMahon High School, 300 Highland Ave., at 5 pm. today. Norwalk public schools wil be closed Monday and Tuesday. City Hall will be open Monday. Norwalk Library main branch and South Norwalk closed Monday

 

[Editor's Note: For updates on train and highway closures/delays, as well as power outages across southern Fairfield County once the storm hits, click here.]

Updated, 10/28 at 9:08 p.m.

Gov. Malloy signed an executive order extending the in-person voter registration deadline in Connecticut to Thursday, November 1, at 8 p.m. for those who intend to vote in the upcoming election.

Updated, 10/28 at 7:54 p.m.

The following message was posted on Norwalk Patch's Facebook page:

Due to hurricane Sandy, all locations of the Urgent Care Centers CT will be closed on Monday, October 29th. We will open on Tuesday, October 30 at 12 noon. We apologize for any inconvenience. Hoping we ALL get thorough this safe.

Updated, 10/28 at 3:55 p.m.

The Fourth Congressional District Debate between Jim Himes and Steve Obsitnik at Wilton High School is canceled at request of both candidates, because of the storm's approach and evacuation of Connecticut's coastal areas.

Updated Sunday at 3:45 p.m.

"Take this storm seriously," said Mayor Richard A. Moccia at a news conference Sunday afternoon. "If you've ever flooded before, in all likelihood you're going to flood again."

Moccia said residents of the Washington Village public housing complex are urged to evacuate. He said police officers would be distributing flyers advising residents to leave, and Spanish speaking people would be going door-to-door to convey that message.

A bus will arrive at Washington Village at 5 p.m. to enable residents to seek shelter at Brien McMahon High School.

The city's deputy director of emergency management, Michelle DeLuca, said the high school shelter will have a capacity of about  450 people.

Moccia said the projected length of the storm is significant, as it will linger as late as Wednesday with hurricane-force gusts.

"It will probably be as bad a storm as we've had in recent memory," he said.

Moccia said it is possible that the city's wastewater treatment plant may have to shut down, posing the possibility that raw sewage will have to be poured into the Norwalk River at South Smith Street.

He said all electrical equipment at the plant will be shut off prior to the storm's arrival. "So, it is possible that we may not have a sewage treatment plant for two days, which creates other problems."

At some point, the city's WHEELS bus service will be suspended, he said, but that's  up to the Norwalk Transit District.

Updated, 10/18 2:21 p.m.

The following statement has been released by Mayor Moccia's office:

The City of Norwalk has activated its Emergency Operations Center.

Two Command Posts have been established to assist with evacuations.
Schools have been closed for Monday and Tuesday.

Residents in low-lying flood prone areas are encouraged to evacuate now. The Emergency Shelter will be open today - Sunday - at 5pm at Brien McMahon High School. The shelter will remain open until further notice for overnight shelter, showers, breakfast and dinner, and charging electronic devices.

The Waste Water (sewage) plant may be flooded and could be shut down. If this occurs, residents will be notifed via the Notify Norwalk Code Red system not to flush toilets, run dishwashers or washing machines.

We are advised by the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Emergency Management, that Sandy is anticipated to produce more devastation than anything we have seen in our lifetime. Hurricane center is expected to make landfall in New Jersey at high tide Monday night.  Expect full category three flooding. Plan for full catagory 4 flooding.

Tropical storm sustained winds are expected to arrive at mightnight tonight. Gale force winds are expected at daybreak. Expect near hurricane force winds over water Monday afternoon with 60-80 mph gusts. Sustained winds are expected through tomorrow evening - approximately 9 hours of consistent high winds. A record high tide of 16.9 feet is expected Monday night in Long Island Sound. Record flooding is expeced at that time. 

By Tuesday morning, winds are expected to drop to tropical storm velocity and below tropical storm velocity by Tueday afternoon.  Nation Guard will be activated and staged at Norwalk Armory. CL&P is bringing in additional crews. On hand now: 400 line workers, 300 tree-trimmers, 400 damage assessors. A crew is co-located at Norwalk's Public Works temporary operations center.

Updated, 10/27 3:53 p.m.

Mayor Moccia authorized the following message to be sent to coastal Norwalk Residents. Approximately 3300 residents and businesses will receive the message today.

This is Fire Chief with a Notify Norwalk Message for coastal Norwalk residents. Hurricane Sandy is expected to produce record coastal flooding over four high tide cycles beginning at midnight on Sunday. High tides are expected produce progressively higher flooding through Tuesday at noon. The flooding is forecast to be higher than Hurricane Irene and higher than the Dec 1992 nor’easter..  All coastal residents should be aware of this emergency and should make arrangements to evacuate their homes and moving vehicles to higher ground.

The city will open the emergency shelter at Brien McMahon High School beginning at 5 pm. The city’s Maritime parking garage is open for your vehicles.

Thank you.

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Original Story

[The 5 p.m. map of the storm's projected path has been inserted into this story.]

If Hurricane Sandy causes substantial damage in the city, be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days, advised Mayor Richard A. Moccia on Friday, and clear debris from storm drains.

There are 10,000 drains in the city, Moccia said. "We can't get to all of them."

Moccia spoke following a meeting of about 40 city officials and community representatives to discuss the city's preparedness for the powerful storm, which may reach the city on Monday.

Fire Chief Denis McCarthy said if it becomes necessary to open shelters, two hot meals a day will be served and space will be available for pets.

McCarthy also said members of the Fire Department will be assigned to every neighborhood in the city to disseminate information if other means of communication are disabled.

We rely on phones and the Internet to release information, McCarthy said. But in the event those aren't available, this is a "stone age" method of conveying information.

Moccia noted the city will also be using its "Notify Norwalk" telephone system, a so-called "reverse 911" system that enables city officials to automatically send e-mails and call every phone in the city to deliver an emergency message.

The city's website -- www.norwalkct.org -- will also provide updated information, as will the state's site at www.ct.gov/sandy.

As the storm approaches, city officials will gather in the Police Headquarter's community room, which is designed to function as an emergency operations center.

Moccia spoke of the irony that at a disaster planning meeting two weeks ago he said he was thankful the city got through the hurricane season without a hurricane.

"As soon as I said that, that was the death knell," he said.

Moccia and other city officials will be holding a news conference about the storm on Sunday afternoon.

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