Shelton preparing for Henri, residents urged to prepare

Exterior of Shelton City Hall, in Shelton, Conn. Jan. 11, 2021.

Exterior of Shelton City Hall, in Shelton, Conn. Jan. 11, 2021.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON - City officials are urging residents to make necessary storm preparations Saturday and prepare to shelter in place Sunday as Henri is expected to make landfall in the state Sunday.

Emergency Management Director Michael Maglione said the city will open its emergency operations center at 6 a.m. Sunday, and United Illuminating will open its at 7 a.m.

At present Henri - which could hit as either a hurricane or tropical storm sometime Sunday afternoon or evening - is a tropical storm but is expected to strengthen into a hurricane as it approaches southern New England. Henri is expected to make landfall in the New Haven area after crossing Long Island Sound.

Heavy rains are expected north and west of the eye, with the most significant wind to the east. Fairfield County is currently under a tropical storm warning.

Maglione said UI has classified this as a Level 2 event at this point, meaning the company is planning for some 180,000 outages throughout its coverage area.

The city’s public works and highways and bridges departments have prepositioned trucks and equipment. The fire departments and Echo Hose Ambulance have checked all equipment and will be at full compliment. Echo Hose will be upping its staff Monday and Tuesday.

The police department has brought in an additional dispatcher for the anticipated call volume.

“The winds are the concern … strong winds will bring down trees,” Maglione said, adding that downed trees could block roadways and knock out power.

“Please shelter in place” he added. “You have today and get ready, but plan to go nowhere (Sunday) … please do not plan to be on the roads tomorrow.”

The American Red Cross has prepositioned shelter and relief supplies in advance of the storm and has volunteers ready to help people in need. In coordination with local officials, the Red Cross is prepared to open hurricane evacuation shelters if requested. We are also working with community partners and emergency responders to be ready to provide aid after Henri passes if needed.

“Red Cross volunteers are working around the clock to help prepare our community for Henri,” said Mario Bruno, CEO, American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region. “Right now, the safety of Connecticut residents is of the utmost importance. We urge people who may be in the storm’s path to finish their storm preparations now, which includes putting together an emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you in case you must evacuate."

Emergency preparedness kits may include items such as a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant and pets if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. Because of the pandemic, include a mask for everyone in your household.

Download the free Red Cross Emergency App for real-time weather alerts, open shelters and expert advice on emergency situations. The Emergency App includes an “I’m Safe” feature that helps people check on loved ones. Search “American Red Cross” in app stores, or go to redcross.org/apps.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com