Local Townships Prepare for Hurricane Irene
Flooding is a large concern in the area, Township officials said.
Area towns are preparing for Hurricane Irene and are ready to face a storm that could produce heavy flooding and high winds.
Cranbury’s Public Works Department completed draining Brainerd Lake Friday in an effort to reduce flooding throughout parts of the town, according to officials. The lake is manmade and drains into the Millstone Creek before flowing over into Plainsboro.
Areas that are most prone to flooding include North and South Main streets, which are around the lake, Old Cranbury Road, Old Trenton Road, Peddie Road and Ancil Davison Road, according to Cranbury Township officials.
“I’m very concerned about the amount of rain,” said Cranbury Police Chief Rickey Varga, who also serves as the township’s Office of Emergency Management coordinator. “I am very concerned about the Main Street Bridge at Brainerd Lake.”
East Windsor Police Chief William Spain said the township is aware of areas of localized flooding and the Public Works Department was cleaning drains to help with draining rainwater.
Cranbury police are finalizing their plans with the township fire department and emergency medical service, and coordinating with the county and state Office of Emergency Management, Varga said.
“Our biggest concern is public safety,” Varga said. “We want to make sure we have the proper resources in place to be ready for the storm.”
Police will have a full complement of officers on duty, with the ability to bring in additional ones if necessary, Varga said. In addition to the police officers, members of the County Emergency Response Team (CERT) are available if needed to assist the patrol team.
“We have extra manpower,” Varga said. “The governor has declared a state of emergency. We are not concerned about overtime because we can apply for federal relief, which enables us to not have to worry about budgetary restraint. We can provide services to the town without having to worry.”
East Windsor has also brought in additional police employees for the duration of the storm, Spain said.
“We are prepared to the degree that we can,” Spain said.
Another resource may be temporary housing for residents who are displaced due to the storm. Cranbury is ready to meet that need. Committee member Jay Taylor, who also serves as police liaison to the township committee, said that an area has been set-aside at police headquarters, should it be needed.
Earlier today police were fueling up construction vehicles, said Taylor. Construction vehicles have four-wheel-drive, which helps navigate through potential flooding waters. They will be used to augment the township’s police cruisers.
Taylor also said that public works was out trimming dead tree limbs earlier today to prevent them from snapping in high winds and bringing down power lines.
Varga said that there are several important measures residents should follow before and during the storm.
“The biggest things are to make sure that you have flashlights, medicine, the necessities, have things ready to go if you are facing an outage, anything for your pets and bottled water. You never know, we don’t know what the storm is going to do. It’s better to be prepared than surprised by it.”
Ashley Peskoe contributed to this report.