By David Cruz
While the rest of us are just now focusing on this storm, weather watchers — including meteorologists, utility officials and emergency responders — have had their eyes on Hurricane Sandy for a week. And at utilities around the state, including PSE&G in Newark, they’re getting ready for a long weekend.
“We’ve arranged for crews from other utilities to be available to us to come to New Jersey to help us out if needed. We’re making sure that all of our vehicles are fueled and ready to go with equipment, so we’re getting as prepared as we can get for a storm like this,” said PSE&G spokesperson Karen Johnson.
In case you may think that — as is sometimes the case — storm hype will exceed actual storm impact, officials advise against you being too cool to be ready. Something wicked this way comes, they say, and it’s best to have an excess of caution than a deficit of preparedness, especially if you’re near a body of water like, say, the Passaic River.
“We always have a major concern when it comes to [flooding in] Fairfield, Millburn, all the towns that are along the Passaic River, my town, Nutley, we’re concerned about them all,” said Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo. “If the storm hits us head on, we can get six to 10 inches, but right now it looks like three to five, but that could change, and we’re ready.”
Flashlights are better than candles, officials say. Fresh batteries, as much bottled water as you can store and fully charge those mobile devices, so you can follow updates online are all recommended. PSE&G, Jersey Central Power & Light and Atlantic City Electric say they’ll be active on social media throughout the emergency. Officials say, stay informed. This storm could have lots of rain, heavy winds and, in a worst-case scenario, meet up with a cold front from the west and make for a white Halloween.
“Listen, we’re preparing and we’re preparing for the worst, and that’s what we always think,” added DiVincenzo.
The Passaic River is calm today, but drunk on six or seven inches of rain and under a full moon, she can do a lot of damage to surrounding communities. Authorities admit they’re not sure what course this storm is going to take but the message they’re putting out today is: we’re getting ready, and you should do the same.