Tropical Storm Irene Taught Residents How to Prepare

As Sandy barreled through Montville, community was glad to be informed by local officials.

At least it did not flood.

That's how at least one Pine Brook resident felt after waking up to see the destruction left by Hurricane Sandy on Tuesday morning. Sarah Foye, a Buckingham Circle resident, said her family was prepared for any storm that could come their way after last year's Tropical Storm Irene flooded her neighborhood and cut off power supply for days.

"We lost power with Irene and we lost power with the October storm," she said. 

Foye said her neighborhood was ordered to evacuate during Tropical Storm Irene, but because her son was already asleep, her family decided to stay. Flooding did block off many of the surrounding roadways though.

"We were almost trapped in here last time," she said.

This year, she said they were not taking any chances. So they bought a generator that would power their home and were one of few families that did not lose power on the street. Still, she said she could hear the severity of the storm from inside.

"It was crazy. You could hear the wind blowing and just bangs and bumps," Foye said. "I just kept thinking, 'Oh my God, something is going to come through the window.'"

Read more Montville Patch coverage of Tropical Storm Sandy here.

Across town Tuesday, John Vander Zee and his 11-year-old daughter, Jackie, visited the comforting station set up at Cedar Hill Elementary School so that they could charge their electronic devices. They arrived around 4:30 p.m. after power had been out on their street, Montgomery Avenue, for about 24 hours.

"Getting through the town was an ordeal, just driving here," he said.

Vander Zee said he was fortunate in that his own home was not damaged in the storm.

"One of the trees by the house fell, but thankfully, it got propped up by another tree," he said.

Based on what he saw and responses during last year's Tropical Storm Irene, Vander Zee said he is skeptical that power will be restored in the next couple of days. But he said he was thankful for the township setting up places where residents could go to charge up. Vander Zee, who works in banking, said he would depend on his Blackberry for at least another day to be able to work from home. He set a goal to head into the office on Thursday, if possible.

"Stations like this are key," he said.

Both Vander Zee and Foye said they were impressed by how well they felt the township communicated with the public throughout the storm, getting in touch through Nixle alerts. Foye said experience from the last storm likely helped.

"I think we, personally and the community, learned a lot from Irene," she said.

Stay with Montville Patch for continued Sandy coverage. "Like" our Facebook page for updates and follow us on Twitter.


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