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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Charlestown declares local emergency

Evacuation of beachfront areas has begun as of Sunday evening.
Storm surge forecast: 5 to 7 feet for South County coast
Our Town Council met at 3 pm Sunday to hear a briefing from Kevin Gallup, Charlestown's Emergency Management Agency Director.

The Council voted to declare a local state of emergency, following the recent State declaration. This permits activation of evacuation plans.

A recorded informational message will be kept updated at 213-6920. If you have an issue or concern you may call 364-1212 (extension 0) and you will be forwarded to someone in our Emergency Operations Center who can give you information or arrange assistance.

Read on for an evaluation of the upcoming weather conditions from Sandy and details about the evacuation and town services.

While the center of the storm is expected to land in New Jersey, the most severe wind and water action will be to the north of the center - the southern Long island coast and the coasts of Connecticut and Rhode Island. This huge storm is pushing a lot of water in front of it that is expected to produce high tide levels 5 to 7 feet above normal. This is compounded by the high lunar tide normally forecast during the next couple of days. Because the storm is so large, the high water will last through two high tide cycles.

The winds will not be as strong as in tropical storm Irene but they will last twice as long, increasing the chance for damage and power outages. Because the high winds during Irene caused the weakest trees to fail, we should not expect as much tree damage this time.

Director Gallup expects that we will experience numerous local power outages but that the widespread outages we we saw after Irene are unlikely.

The town will be notifying residents through the CodeRed phone calling system.

Police and fire personnel will be going door-to-door in the evacuation areas this evening to notify any residents remaining in the area.

If the effects from the storm worsen, the evacuation area may expand inland.

The emergency shelter at the Chariho Middle School opened at 5 pm Sunday.

If you are evacuating and you have pets to take care of, your first step should be to call our animal shelter at 364-1211. They will have space to accept some pets. If the animal shelter is closed or full, the Chariho Emergency Shelter will have an area where residents may bring pets with them. For either location you should bring proof of rabies vaccination, food, any medicines, and an appropriate pet carrier.