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(UPDATE) Day Shelter Now Open At High School

With first day of classes delayed until at least Tuesday, Middletown High is serving lunch and dinner to residents.

Updated Tuesday 5 p.m.

Mayor Sebastian Giuliano announced the city will be opening a shelter for residents at Middletown High School as long as needed. It will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with no overnight sleeping.

Lunch will be served at noon and dinner at 5 p.m. Bottled water will be available all day. People will be allowed to use showers. Power will be available to charge small electrical devices (laptops, phones, etc.). Pets will not be permitted.

Residents with wells may bring buckets to fill up on fresh water.

Health and fire officials are reminding residents to take precautions in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene if they have been or continue to be without power.

Fire officials urge people to use flashlights. If candles must be used, the fire department offered the following warnings:

  • Avoid carrying a lit candle and never leave candles unattended. Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Keep candles away from items that can catch fire such as clothing or curtains.
  • Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids.
  • Use candle holders that are sturdy, won’t tip over easily and are made from a material that can’t burn.

Fire officials also warned about the dangers of carbon monoxide during an extended power outage. According to the department, all gas-powered equipment such as generators emit carbon monoxide . Generators and barbecues (either propane or charcoal) must be operated outside in a well-ventilated area, never inside.

Symptoms of CO poisoning can mimic the common flu and may include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea vomiting chest pain and confusion.

The city health department said is important to prevent getting sick from food that has spoiled or water that has been contaminated. The department reminds residents when it comes to food safety: “if in doubt, throw it out” and suggested following state public health guidelines:

  • The refrigerator will keep food at proper temperature for about four hours if the doors are not opened. A full freezer will hold a safe temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full).
  • If the temperature in your refrigerator or freezer goes above 40 degrees, throw away perishable foods such as beef, poultry, fish eggs, dairy, and cut fruits and vegetables.
  • Food can be safely refrozen if it still has ice crystals on it or has stayed below 40 F degrees.
  • Do not eat any food that has come in contact with flood water. This includes packaged food items in plastic, paper, cardboard, cloth, and similar containers that may have been damaged, as well as beverage containers with screw-caps, snap lids crimped caps (such as those found on soda bottles), twist caps, flip tops, and home canned foods because these tops cannot be disinfected properly

For information on disinfecting flooded wells, go to www.ct.gov/dph/floods.

Editor's note: UPDATED VERSION Sunday, 7:20 p.m.

Middletown Mayor Sebastian Guiliano has lifted the state of emergency effective for the first shift for each of the city's bargaining units — all municipal employees should report to work on their normal schedules.

City workers and emergency personnel will be assessing damage within the city and clean-up efforts will begin as soon as possible, Sebastian Giuliano said Sunday evening.

10,820 CL&P customers remain without power in Middletown — still 47 percent, but several dozen more than at 3:30 p.m.

EARLIER VERSION

Giant trees were uprooted by Hurricane Irene's tempestuous winds Sunday all throughout Middletown, blocking streets and knocking out power up to as much as 47 percent of CL&P customers.

On the front lawn of a home at the corner of Washington (Route 66) and Pearl Street, a giant elm was toppled by early morning, and on Newfield Street (Route 3), just before the entrance to Prospect Street, another huge one blocked three-quarters of the roadway.

Emergency Management Services Deputy Chief Angel Fernandez was manning the mobile unit at the Red Cross shelter set up at Middletown High School.

"Six people stayed the night," he said. "Mostly people who didn't want to chance getting stuck at home without power."

By 1 p.m., winds were still blowing and the rain falling while some ventured out to Harbor Park to check out the Connecticut River, which was churning and noticably higher.

At the corner of Eastern Drive and Silver Street, on the campus of Connecticut Valley Hospital, a huge old maple had knocked over power lines in a massive tangle of leaves, branches and wires.

At 3 p.m. Wesleyan University posted on its Facebook page: "We have power and Internet at Wesleyan. All employees are asked to report to work on their regular schedule unless they have been notified otherwise by a supervisor. No buildings on our campus were affected."

David Pesci, director of media relations and public relations, explained. "We had some branches and trees come down but never lost power. We are open for business as usual on Monday."

At 3:30 p.m., 10,773 CL&P customers in Middletown were without power — that's 47 percent — and crews were just beginning to be dispatched state wide to restore it. By 4:40 p.m., it had gone down a bit to 45 percent.

Emergency Management Director Bruce Driska met Thursday with all city directors and stakeholders to activate the operation center in the basement of the Cross Street firehouse.

Although the one in Town Hall is expected to replace the Cross Street one any day, Driska said, "With this storm's high winds, we don’t feel it would be safe to occupy at that wind speed."

Although Hurricane Irene has been downgraded to a tropical storm, the city’s Emergency Operations Center and emergency shelter will continue to operate throughout this evening.

The EOC will monitor and assess conditions during the storm’s aftermath. As the weather improves, city crews will be mobilized to assess damage and begin cleanup.

City officials say that there are still many fallen trees blocking roadways citywide. These trees may be entangled with electrical lines and debris so care must be taken when approaching this. Residents are cautioned not to approach downed trees and should contact the city’s dispatch center to report the road closure.

The city’s storm shelter at Middletown High School will remain open overnight and possibly longer. Anyone who is staying at the shelter is reminded to bring all needed medication. Pets are allowed but must be on leashes or in carriers. Owners should have enough food and meds for their pets as well. Middletown Area Transit will provide bus transportation to and from the shelter if needed.

For information the shelter or storm-related questions, call (860) 343-8002. For bus transportation, call (860) 965-5294. To report a road closure because of a fallen tree, call (860) 347-2541.

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John Brush August 29, 2011 at 03:45 PM
Nice work Cassandra with the photos of the Coast Guard vessels. The larger ship, USCGC Bollard is a 65' Small Harbor Tug (WYTL) while the second vessel is BUSL 49411 ANT, a 49' Stern Loading Buoy Boat based on Long Island Sound. Here's an interesting photo of Bollard breaking ice on our river: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USCGC_Bollard.jpg

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