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New Haven hoping for more good luck with Joaquin

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NEW HAVEN – During Superstorm Sandy, emergency operations officials in New Haven say they got lucky in the Morris Cove section of the city, on the east shore, which could have been devastated.  During a critical two hour period, at the height of Sandy, there was a wind change that reversed the direction of water flow into New Haven’s Morris Cove.

I got a call saying the water is receding and we’re thinking ‘no way,’ but the water was receding,” said Rick Fontana, director of emergency operations for New Haven. “Two hours of high tide would’ve put us in a situation very similar to what you saw in Queens, New York.”

Tweed New Haven Airport , just a couple of blocks from Morris Cove, in recent years had a flood gate installed at its south end to prevent two brooks, which run through the airport property and are connected to the ocean, from flooding the runways.

“At low tide, we will lift the gate, manually, electronically, and will let water come off of these creeks and back out into Long Island sound and, then, we close the gate for high tide so that it will insulate the neighborhoods,” said Tim Larson, the general manager of Tweed New Haven Airport.

As Joaquin tracks closer to the northeastern part of the United States, Connecticut lawmakers want consumer preparations for the storm to include keeping an eye on their wallets to avoid price gouging.

“The bill we passed deals with issues regarding the price of lodging, snow removal,  abatement and post storm cleanup or repair services,” State Sen. President Martin Looney (D-New Haven).

This bill states that once the governor declares a state of emergency, businesses are prohibited from increasing the price of a retail item or service. It’s not just consumers that should be on the lookout, though.

“We want to make sure businesses hold other businesses accountable in case that some are not adhering to the price gouging laws that we have in Connecticut,” said State Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk)

Gouging is determined by the average price of the goods and services in question for 30 days prior to the emergency declaration.

This weekend, ahead of Joaquin, the New Haven area is expecting tides of 3 to 4 feet above normal. So the city already has barricades out in flood prone areas.

Tips for Preparing for the Next Storm

Pack an Emergency Supply Kit

  • A supply of water in jugs or bottles. You should have at least one gallon of water for every person in your home for each day. You will need more water if there are children, if someone is nursing a baby or if the weather is hot.
  • Food—in cans or sealed packages like soup and tuna fish; foods and juices that do not have to go in the refrigerator or be cooked; food for infants or the elderly.
  • A manual can opener, paper plates, plastic utensils and something to cook on like a small grill with fuel. Be sure to use charcoal and gas grills outside to prevent carbon monoxide build-up.
  • Paper towels, toilet paper, soap.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlights, cell phone, with extra batteries.
  • Blanket/sleeping bag, pillows for everyone in the family.
  • Extra clothing for everyone in the family.
  • Things babies and children need like diapers, games, toys and books.
  • First-aid kit—Remember to include: medicines (prescriptions, fever reducers, aspirin); eye glasses and contact lens supplies; list of the doctors you go to; medical supplies (colostomy supplies, insulin syringes).
  • Garbage bags and cleaning supplies.
  • Things your pets need like food and water, a pet carrier or cage, medicines, muzzle, collar, leash, ID tags and their immunization records.
  • Extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash and important information like Social Security numbers and birth certificates.
  • Plastic and duct tape (see chemical emergencies).
  • Pictures of your family members and pets in case you are separated and need help looking for them.

Securing Your Home and Boat

  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
  • Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
  • If necessary, take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm—winds could pick up again.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows, another option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
  • Remember your pets! They should be kept indoors, with a collar and identification and ample food and water.
  • If you have a boat, determine how and where to secure it in advance of a storm. Also check equipment and your insurance plan.
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