The Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills is bracing for a big one.
The National Hurricane Center now predicts that Hurricane Sandy will become a tropical storm and strike New Jersey directly sometime Sunday—and that the severe weather could stick around through Tuesday.
Don't let the downgrade fool you, weather forecasters say. The storm will feature potentially damaging high speed winds, very heavy rain and flooding to low-lying areas. At particular threat are towns like Parsippany, that are prone to flood during a severe storm.
Town administration, the Parsippany Office of Emergency Management and the Parsippany Police Department are preparing for what's to come.
Police and OEM Chief Anthony DeZenzo said crews will be busy all day getting ready.
"The Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills has already begun preparing for the storm by ensuring storm drains are clear and dead and damaged trees are being removed," he said in a statement, adding that crews will follow "an emergency operations plan, which includes an operational Emergency Operations Center as well as safety equipment including barricades, traffic cones, rescue equipment, emergency generators and high volume emergency pumps in the event of flooded homes and businesses. Emergency Responders including OEM, PPD, Parsippany Rescue and Recovery, three Emergency Medical Service agencies and six Parsippany fire districts will be standing by ready to assist our citizens."
DeZenzo urged residents to prepare themselves for what he called "an extremely dangerous storm that may...take down trees and power lines within the township."
He also noted the possibility of extended periods of power loss.
The Parsippany OEM offered a checklist of items to get done before Sandy arrives:
- Create of an emergency kit and family emergency plan including an emergency gathering point
- Have a stock of fresh batteries for your specific flashlights
- Bring in outdoor furniture, grills, garbage cans and lawn ornaments that may blow away in high wind
- Have a battery operated radio with fresh batteries
- Charge all cell phones and laptops
- If you plan on keeping a supply of fresh water for drinking (particularly if you use an electric well pump), plan on 1 gallon per person per day
- Make sure emergency equipment such as generators and sump pumps are working and you have fuel on hand
- Have a bag of emergency supplies and clothing in the event that you may need to evacuate your home if directed by emergency personnel
- Park your car in an area of high elevation that does not flood
- Keep an eye on drains on your property that may clog with leaves to help avoid flooding on your property.
- Chief DeZenzo offered another reminder: Unless you are directed by emergency personnel to evacuate, your home is generally the safest place to be.
For the latest information from the town, head to the township website, the PPD website, PPD Facebook page and the PPD Twitter feed. Consider signing up for the police department's Constant Contact Emails). Also, for Reverse 9-1-1 notifications, register your cellphone number so you can receive emergency calls in the event of a power outage.