January 22, 2014 10:10AM
By NANCY LAVIN
Sun Staff Writer
With blizzard conditions and bitter cold predicted by the National Weather Service over the next 24 hours, local emergency management directors say that most preparations have already been completed.
Plows are already in good condition from use in snowstorms earlier this winter.
Amy Grzybowski, emergency management coordinator for Westerly, said that while public works crews were prepared, she was not expecting a major local impact.
“It doesn’t seem like it will be a high-wind event, so we’re not too worried about power outages,” she said, explaining that the town had not received any warnings from National Grid regarding outages as of this morning.
“At this point, we’re just going to wait and see,” Grzybowski said.
Charlestown Emergency Management Agency Director Kevin Gallup said that all of the town’s equipment was checked after the last storm, and is ready for operation. Gallup also said he was in touch with volunteers to aid in emergency operations on Sunday at a flu clinic hosted at the Charlestown Senior- Community Center.
“I know which volunteers are around, and I’m in good shape,” Gallup said.
Because the snow is predicted to be light and fluffy, Gallup said he did not anticipate having any problems driving to the emergency center to open it during the storm if necessary,
“To me, at this point, it’s just a typical New England storm,” he said.
In Hopkinton, Emergency Management Director Ronald MacDonald reported that nothing outside of usual storm preparation — readying snow plows and salt supplies — was planned. As of this afternoon, he said there had not been any discussion of opening a shelter, and the town’s emergency operations shelter would only open if necessary.
North Stonington typically prepares at the beginning of the winter, and continuously updates its equipment and salt and sand supply, according to First Selectman Nick Mullane III.
“We’re always prepared,” he said, adding that since many town residents have vehicles with four-wheel drive, transportation should not be an issue as long as people use common sense. “We’re pretty self-sufficient.”
In Stonington, public works crews have been working to pre-treat sidewalks with salt, and also planned to pre-treat roads immediately before the snow was expected to fall.
First Selectman Ed Haberek Jr. said a decision will be made later tonight about whether town hall would be open tomorrow. No plans to open an emergency center had been made as of this morning, but Haberek said the high school can serve as a shelter if necessary.
“Our main concern is the bitter cold that’s going to set in,” he said. “We are encouraging people to prepare and be safe.”
Blizzard conditions are expected to continue through Wednesday afternoon, with 5 to 10 inches of accumulation.
Parking bans in Westerly and Stonington begin this afternoon. For an update on area cancellations and closings, check our website and Facebook page.