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UPDATED: Schools Closed Wednesday in East Hampton, Town Manager Advises Caution on Trick-or-Treating

East Hampton has opened the high school as a "convenience center" and Portland, with fewer than 400 people without power at the height of Hurricane Sandy, will go back to school today.

UPDATED 5:00PM

Schools in East Hampton will be closed for the third day in a row on Wednesday, as the town continues to dig itself out of the mess left behind by Hurricane Sandy. Town Manager Michael Maniscalco also is advising parents to be cautious about taking their children out for Halloween. There are still many downed wires and broken hanging tree limbs around, he said. While the town does not take a formal position on whether to ban trick-or-treating, Maniscalco said parents who decide to do so should be extremely cautious.

"There's a real mess out there," he said.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, nearly 50 percent of CL&P's customers in East Hampton, or 3,030, were still without power.

In Portland, life was getting back to normal late Tuesday afternoon. With fewer than 400 people without electricity at the height of Sandy, cleanup and restoration after the storm has gone smoothly, said First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield. She credit the town's and CL&P's pre-storm tree trimming program with helping to keep damage and outages to a minimum. In addition, children will return to school here tomorrow, though schools will open on a two-hour delay.

About 250 residences and businesses were still without power late Tuesday afternoon.

Bransfield said the town is not taking any unusual precautions for those who go out trick-or-treating on Halloween night. She said town and CL&P work crews expect all storm debris to be cleared by Tuesday night.

 

UPDATED:  11:11 a.m.

East Hampton has opened its high school as an emergency "convenience center" where residents can take hot showers, power up thier cell phones and computers, get bottled and tap water and even a meal.

While the center officially doesn't open until noon, workers were there before 11 a.m. setting up and the doors were open for visitors.

Across town officials, including the police chief, deputy fire chief and the deputy director of emergency management, were manning the town's emergency operations center at the East Hampton Firehouse. With them was Jane Kaminski, a liasion from CL&P helping to coordinate restoration efforts.

Joe Guest, the deputy emergency management director for East Hampton, said the EOC fully opened at noon yesterday and was manned through 11 p.m. last night. It reopened at 7 a.m. today and will remain open through 8 p.m. He said there are currently two CL&P crews at work around town, helping to clear roads first before they begin restoring power to some of the 2,470 residents still in the dark, He and Kaminski said they have no estimate yet for when restoration will begin or how long it will take.

Guest said some roads in town are closed because of downed trees and officials are still awaiting a report from workers in the field on which roads and how many.

Anyone needed to stay somewhere overnight can use the American Red Cross shelter at Bacon Academy in Colchester at 611 Norwich Ave.

UPDATED: 5:34 a.m.

Nearly 500,000 Connecticut Light & Power customers statewide are currently without power as the utility company begins its assessments of Hurricane Sandy's damage.

Locally, 2,470 East Hampton CL&P customers are without power, about 40 percent of the town. Portland was largely spared from widespread outages during this Hurricane. Currently only 273 customers here, about 5 percent of the town's population, is without power this morning.

Roughly every town in the state is seeing outages in some capacity, with the bulk of the power issues being seen in several coastal communities ranging from Branford to Stonington. Pockets of the state in the Quiet Corner and the Litchfield Hills are also in the dark.

In total, about 14 percent of the state is without electricity, due to high winds and heavy rainfall from Sandy.

CL&P Spokesman Mitch Gross said that, despite the high winds, there are crews out working on emergency restoration efforts right now.

“We’re at work handling as many issues as we can, while it’s still safe,” Gross said.

Federal regulations require that utility workers not be in the air working on power lines when wind speeds hit 40 mph. But Gross said that, since winds haven’t hit that threshold as of yet, there still are trucks in the CL&P system out on the road.

Some workers have been pulled off the lines in certain areas of the state, such as parts of Litchfield County, due to higher winds, Gross said.

In a message sent out to CL&P customers, the company reinforced that, if the power does go out, it may not return for an extended period of time.

If you experience an outage, please call 800-286-2000 or go to www.cl-p.com (via PC or mobile device) to report it.

“It's important that you report an outage even if you think your neighbors may have already reported it,” the message read. “The more information we have, the better we are able to improve our assessment of damage and make repairs.”

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