Planet Princeton

Hurricane Sandy Could Slam New Jersey Early Next Week

Just before Halloween last year, Princeton was hit with a blizzard. Will it be a hurricane this year?

Hurricane Sandy, which is also being referred to as “Frankenstorm”, could wallop the Northeast Coast of the United States early next week, possibly making landfall in New Jersey on Monday. The hurricane is currently a category II Hurricane containing very heavy rainfall and damaging winds.

If the hurricane maintains the current track, it is likely that there will be major flooding and wind damage in the Garden State. Utilities such as electricity, phone, water, and internet service may be disrupted.  Outages may last for more then 24 hours and heat may go out. Some road closures are likely, and travel may be unsafe or impossible during and soon after the storm, when flood waters may still be rising.

Flooding after Hurricane Irene last August.

Local officials are asking residents to anticipate these possibilities and prepare to remain at home in the event that the storm does result in power outages and flooding. Officials say residents who are unable to shelter in place should develop a plan to leave the region before the storm arrives.

Below are suggested household preparations in the event of a severe storm:

To minimize damage:

Remove or secure objects that could possibly become airborne from yards and porches.
Check sump pumps and back-up batteries.
Clear valuable items off floors of basements.
Make sure gutters, leaders and sump pump drains are clear
Fill up gas tanks and garage vehicles before the storm and avoid parking under trees.
If you have a generator you plan to use should power fails, test it now.

Basic necessities:

Fill all needed prescriptions.
Have sufficient food in house that does not require cooking. Consider packing your freezer or a cooler with ice for food storage.
Stock several days of drinking water, fill bathtub for flushing water.
Buy batteries, have flashlights and portable radios on hand.
Plan for your pets like you would plan for your family. Make sure to have a stockpile of food and water available.  Have a cat carrier or dog crate available.  Make sure your pet has a collar with ID on it.
Conserve water.  If you have an electric well pump and are without electric, you may be without water for drinking, cleaning and flushing toilets for an extended period.

Communications:

Do not cross police barriers placed in roadways.
If possible keep a corded landline phone available, which will still work when power is out.
Charge cell phones, only use minimally if electric goes out to keep battery up. Consider purchase of a cell phone hand-crank charger.
To report downed wires or power outages, call PSE&G’s Customer Service line at 1-800-436-PSEG.
Power outage activity throughout PSE&G service territory is online at www.pseg.com/outagecenter and updates are posted on www.pseg.com during severe weather.
Dial 911 in an emergency.
Write out emergency phone numbers.  Plan for possibility of staying with a relative or friend, in case power is lost for an extended period.
Residents with special needs should register at NJ Register Ready.

For more hurricane preparedness tips visit www.ready.gov/hurricanes.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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