South Brunswick Township continues to prepare for the second major hurricane to strike the area in as many years.
Hurricane Sandy is expected to begin impacting the region from Sunday evening into Tuesday afternoon. Weather reports late Friday indicated showers will begin Sunday night with periods of rain that will become steady during the overnight hours with winds reaching 15 mph.
On Monday, periods of rain are expected, with the heaviest coming during the evening hours. Wind gusts are expected to increase to the 40 to 60 mph range during this time. On Tuesday, more rain and strong winds are expected, with wind gusts varying in direction as the storm moves through. Conditions are expected to improve by Tuesday evening.
In anticipation of the storm, the township Public Works Department conducted leaf collection to make sure storm sewers are free from debris in an attempt to mitigate flooding.
“Our public works staff has cleared most of the township streets of leaves," said South Brunswick Township Manager Bernard Hvozdovic. "Additional inspections and cleaning was conducted of drainage basins. We have moved staff around to address the needs and are working with state and county officials to monitor the storm."
During Hurricane Irene last year, almost 75 percent of South Brunswick lost power, hundreds of trees were downed, and numerous roads were closed, including major artery roadways and parts of Route 1.
“There were a number of vehicles that became submerged in flooded roadways last year," said South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka. "Motorists should not go around barricades and travel at a reduced speed if they have to go out."
Residents are advised to be cognizant of the following flood prone areas:
- Route 1 between Route 522 and Ridge Road
- Route 27 in the area of Stillwell Road
- Oakdale Mobile Home Park - Route 1
- Monmouth Mobile Home Park - Route 1
- Deans Lane
- Route 1 north near Dow Jones
- Route 1 south near Raymond Road
- Deans Lane near Blackhorse Lane
- Route 27 at the Princeton border
Many of these locations have become impassable during periods of heavy rainfall during previous storms. If travel becomes necessary, police advise using Route 130 as the best alternative to travel north and south during the storm.
No decision has been made as of yet regarding school closings. The Superintendent, Business Administrator and the Director of Buildings and Grounds will collaborate with South Brunswick Police and the township Department of Public Works to decide whether to close school or to operate under a 90-minute delay. District officials are anticipated to reach a decision about a school closure or delay by 5:30 a.m. on each particular day.
Residents are urged to take the following precautions:
- Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy. Use care when burning candles; open flames are a fire hazard.
- Gather extra blankets or a sleeping bag for each person. Do not use gas stoves, kerosene heaters or other open-flame heat sources to prevent deadly carbon monoxide gas from building up in your home.
- If you have a water well and pump, keep an emergency supply of bottled water and/or fill your bathtub with fresh water.
- Stock an emergency supply of convenience foods that do not require cooking.
- Keep a battery-powered radio with extra batteries on hand. Tune in to a local radio station for current storm information.
- Have a hard-wired telephone or a charged cell phone handy in the event you need to report your electricity is out. Mobile phones can be charged in your vehicle using a car charger when power is out.
In the event an evacuation becomes necessary due to flooding or loss of power, the South Brunswick Senior Center is the first option as a township emergency shelter, with the Community Center at Woodlot Park and South Brunswick High School ready as backup shelters.
Throughout the storm, South Brunswick Patch will provide continuous up to the minute updates on road closures, power outages and flooding emergencies in town.
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