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West Hartford Officials Urge Residents to Prepare for Significant Impact from Henri

Projected path of Henri as of Saturday, Aug. 21, 8 a.m. Image from N.O.A.A. National Hurricane Center.

The Town of West Hartford issued an alert via Everbridge on Saturday morning, urging residents to prepare for a potential severe impact from Henri.

By Ronni Newton

Just days after torrential rainfall from the remnants of Fred flooded roadways and basements throughout West Hartford, Henri is threatening further devastation to the area.

A hurricane warning was posted for the Hartford area on Friday as Henri is expected to strengthen from a tropical storm into a hurricane, and according to the National Weather Service, rain is expected to begin late Saturday night with tropical conditions arriving by Sunday morning.

The possibility of severe flooding and damaging winds is highly likely, and the Town of West Hartford issued an alert to the community via Everbridge just before 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

“Unfortunately it looks like we are in the the direct path of this significant storm,” Mayor Shari Cantor told We-Ha.com on Saturday morning. “We urge all residents to prepare to stay home for Sunday and Monday due to expected storm damage and clean up.”

Eversource has stated that it is preparing for various scenarios, with line and tree crews and other resources in position, along with contracts for additional crews to assist with power restoration, but has also warned of the possibility of some customers being without power for as long as 10 days.

“We will keep our residents posted through a variety of ways,” Cantor said. “Please remember to charge phones and extra chargers today. The town will open buildings as soon as it is safe for charging or cooling,” she said.

“We urge all of our residents to take this storm very seriously,” Town Manager Matt Hart said Saturday. “Please finalize all of your preparations today and check in on your more vulnerable family members and neighbors. We will need your patience and cooperation to get through this storm and its recovery period. Thank you.”

Gov. Ned Lamont said Friday that he was requesting a “presidential pre-landfall emergency declaration to provide the state with federal assistance in anticipation of the impacts of the storm,” along with declaring a civil preparedness emergency.

The Connecticut State Emergency Operations Center will become partially activated on Saturday, Aug. 21, and fully activated by the morning of Sunday, Aug. 22, staffed by state and utility company representatives.

The governor and Major General Francis Evon, Adjutant General and Commander of the Connecticut National Guard, have also called 200 Guardsmen and women to state active duty beginning on Saturday morning in support of the state’s response to the storm. National Guard crews will be mobilized to assist with actions such as high-wheeled vehicle search and rescue, route clearance, power generation, and commodities distribution.

The West Hartford alert to residents provided the following suggestions for storm preparation:

  • Bring in lawn furniture, umbrellas, canopies or anything that can blow away and cause damage.
  • Have cash on hand in case ATMs or credit card machines are not functioning.
  • Gas your vehicles.
  • Stock your freezer with ice. Ice will be in short supply so consider making your own now.
  • Charge your devices.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food.
  • Make sure your pets have enough food for several days.
  • Have a radio, flashlights and batteries handy.
  • If you can, clear debris from the top of a catch basin near your home to reduce flooding.
  • Do not drive through standing water. You can park a car in one of the Town’s parking garages if you are concerned about potential damage to your vehicle.
  • Be cautious after the storm. Stay home and do not take any unnecessary trips. Trees and power lines could be down causing a hazardous situation.

The website GetReadyCapitolRegion.org also has tips for emergency preparation as well as what to include in a “Go Kit” should you have to suddenly evacuate.

The town will be ready to assist the community during and after the storm, and residents are urged to use the non-emergency line, 860-523-5203 if there are any concerns and reserve the use of 911 for life-threatening emergencies only.

“I want to thank our first responders and public works personnel for their preparation and for being there for us throughout this storm,” Cantor said.

“We are also working on a post storm debris pick up. We will get through this together,” said Cantor.

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