As the northeast braces for Hurricane Sandy, expected to bring inches of rain and harsh winds beginning Monday, Montville officials have already gone into full preparation mode, according to Township Administrator Victor Canning.
"I don't think any of us can stop this thing from coming," Canning said Friday. "We're clearly getting out in front of this and advising people to take the necessary precautions."
Canning said officials distributed fliers to residents in flood-prone areas, particularly neighborhoods in Pine Brook, on Thursday advising them how to prepare for the storm. This includes moving valuables to other areas, clearing basements that flooded during Tropical Storm Irene last year and gathering supplies. Canning said the township is hoping to make good use of the time before the storm potentially impacts the area.
"One thing we do have, at least until Sunday, is time," Canning said.
But as some residents know all too well, even time in advance is not always enough to prepare for what nature can bring. There are, however, some measures that can be taken to assist residents during the possibly difficult time during and after the storm, including setting up an overnight shelter at Montville Township High School for those without power and planning for flooding and power outages.
"We're trying to take everything we could into consideration to try to address accordingly, but in the end, once this flood water starts, it's hard to stop it," Canning said.
Canning said he has reached out to the Jersey City Reservoir to inquire about an aqueduct that was recently closed for repairs to see if the aqueduct has been reopened and is draining water in light of the expected storm.
"If it hasn't been draining out, that could cause an even bigger problem," Canning said.
Montville Township police have also warned residents to get ready for the storm.
"We encourage anyone in areas that were affected by Irene to prepare for similar conditions," police said in a Nixle alert sent Friday morning.
The police department also sent a list of expectations of the storm, including the potential for weeks without power.
"What to expect: heavy winds will take down trees and power lines causing power failures. Expect extended periods of power loss ranging from days to possibly weeks. Expect street flooding and road closures. Expect limited services, i.e. transportation, fuel delivery, food and water," the Nixle alert said.
Canning said all emergency officials have already met several times and will be meeting at least twice more Friday to continue to plan and prepare.
"We'll continue to meet and make preparations in accordance with what needs to be done," he said.