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Latest Updates:
Hurricane Sandy - Final Update (for now) - October 29, 2012, 9:00 PM

The City is closing its Emergency Operations Center for the night. Police and Fire personnel remain on duty to monitor conditions.

Current forecasts indicate that no severe weather is predicted for the Montpelier area. Wind gusts may pick up around 2 to 3 AM but are not expected to reach extreme levels. Rain and wind are expected to continue through tomorrow. No flooding is expected.

Hurricane Sandy Update - October 29, 2012, 8:00 PM

The Montpelier School Department has closed schools for tomorrow - Tuesday the 30th - as a precautionary measure.

Montpelier is experiencing a much lighter impact from Sandy than originally predicted. Winds are mild and rain is mostly mist thus far. Current predictions from the National Weather Service have downgraded the forecast to about 1 inch of rain overnight (instead of 3 inches) and winds of about 20-25 mph with gusts to 40 instead of 40-45 with gusts to 60.

We continue to monitor conditions but are sending some emergency personnel home.

There are currently no power outages or road closures in Montpelier. The path of the storm appears to have adjusted so that Central Vermont is being largely spared.


Source:  NOAA, National Weather Service, Washington Post
Source:  NOAA, National Weather Service, Washington PostHurricane Sandy Update - October 29th, 11:29 AM

According to the National Weather Service and Vermont Emergency Management, 45-60 mile per hour wind gusts are expected in Central Vermont. Winds of this speed can cause structural damage and power outages, as trees and power poles are knocked down. Localized flooding is also possible where the rain is heaviest. Flooding is possible anywhere, but NWS says the southern half of Vermont is the most susceptible. The forecast can be found at http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/btv/.

We are advising people to take the following precautions. First of all, stay home. Driving will be hazardous. Stay away from any power lines that are knocked down, and be very careful if you are near fallen trees. Please secure anything on your property that could be blown away and cause danger for other people, or for drainage. This includes political signs. The city will be removing political signs in our right of way.

Power outages can mean that your furnace and refrigerator won’t work. The city water has backup storage and power systems, so we have no reason to believe that anyone on the city water will be without water. If you use an emergency generator, please make sure it is properly vented – they should never be used inside a home or anywhere where the carbon monoxide they exhaust can cause problems – it is an odorless gas that can kill you.

Power outages also mean that you may not have access to electronic communication. We will be making these phone calls and keeping radio stations in our area up to date on emergency communications.

Other tips offered by Vermont Emergency Management include:
  • Check flashlights and portable radios to ensure that they are working, and you have extra batteries. A battery powered radio is an important source of critical weather and emergency information during a storm.
  • If your water supply could be affected by a power outage (a well-water pump system), fill your bathtub and spare containers with water. Water in the bathtub should be used for sanitation purposes only, not as drinking water. Pouring a pail of water from the tub directly into the bowl can flush a toilet.
  • Set your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings (remember to reset them back to normal once power is restored). During an outage, do not open the refrigerator or freezer door unnecessarily. Food can stay cold in a full refrigerator for up to 24 hours, and in a well-packed freezer for 48 hours (24 hours if it is half-packed).
  • If you have medication that requires refrigeration, check with your pharmacist for guidance on proper storage during an extended outage.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when using a generator. Always use outdoors, away from windows and doors. Carbon Monoxide (CO) fumes are odorless and can quickly accumulate indoors. Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator directly into household wiring, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is extremely dangerous and presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices.
  • Make sure your Smoke and Carbon Dioxide detectors have fresh batteries and are in working order.
  • Be extra cautious when you go outside to inspect for damage after a storm. Downed or hanging electrical wires can be hidden by trees or debris, and could be live. Never attempt to touch or move downed lines, and keep children and pets away from them. Do not touch anything power lines are touching, such as tree branches or fences. Always assume a downed line is a live line. Call your utility company to report any outage related problem.
We are not expecting river flooding here, but flash floods and other localized flooding can occur. The tropical rains National Weather Service predicts for our area can come in short, heavy, downpours. We are asking people to check the storm drains in their area and help us keep them clear of leaves and debris.

For more information about the storm, go to Vermont Emergency Management at www.vem.vermont.gov, or the city web site at www.montpelier-vt.org. You can sign up for e-mail and text alerts on the city web site by clicking on the Blackboard Connect link at the bottom of the home page, and then clicking on Sign Me Up.

Be safe. Keep your children safe. Downed electric lines can be hidden by debris, so please be attentive after the storm.



Hurricane Sandy Preparations

Hurricane Sandy is heading north, and it is very likely that we will be experiencing high winds, heavy rains, and possibly some flooding early next week. Right now, the worst of the storm is projected to go south of us, but we won't know for sure until Sunday or Monday. Here is a list of things you can do to be prepared for it, and to help the city prepare:

Household Preparations
  1. Make sure you and your family are safe first.
  2. Keep extra batteries, flashlights and a battery operated radio on hand just in case you lose power.
  3. Make sure you have enough water, canned goods and non-perishable items that will last at least 3 days.
  4. If you lose power and run a generator, make sure it is always run outside and that exhaust is NOT entering the home. Every home should have a carbon monoxide detector.
  5. Know the emergency evacuation route for your area in case you are evacuated.
  6. Plan ahead and have an evacuation bag ready in case you are evacuated with any medication you need, and other necessities.
  7. Please be careful with auxiliary heating devices - the exhaust can be fatal if they are not designed for indoor use.
Download the Family Preparedness Workbook from the city web site.

For more information about emergency preparedness, check the Vermont Emergency Management web site

Neighborhood/City Preparations
  1. Please take some notice of storm drains in your area. This time of year, leaves can block them. It would help a lot for people to help us make sure they're clear.
  2. Please check in on elder neighbors, or neighbors you have who might have special needs. Power outages can often mean a lack of heat; furnaces often require electricity.
  3. The city personnel can't be everywhere at once, and if we have flooding we will be taking action that prioritizes human health and safety. This means we will not have equipment available for residents or businesses to use for flooded basements, or protecting property. Please take whatever steps you need to prepare for this.

Thanks, Gwen.
__________________________________
Gwendolyn Hallsmith
Director, Department of Planning and Community Development



Hurricane Sandy Briefing 4:00 PM Today - October 26, 2012

The City of Montpelier Emergency Management Team will hold a short public briefing at 4:00 PM in the City Council Chambers about preparations for Hurricane Sandy. The briefing will include:

1 - Current status of weather forecasts about the storm
2 - Efforts being made by the City to prepare
3 - Suggestions for individuals and businesses to prepare
4 - Contact and communication information.