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UPDATE 10:30PM: Sandy Makes Landfall, Thousands Without Power

Continue to check this article through Monday night for updates from residents and Offices of Emergency Management in New Providence, Berkeley Heights and Mountainside.


Update Monday, 10:30 p.m.

JCP&L is reporting thousands are without power in New Providence, Berkeley Heights and Mountainside. 

Here are the specifics:

New Providence - 4,672
Berkeley Heights - 3,500
Mountainside - 335

We'll continue to provide you with more information as it becomes available. 

Is your power out? See any downed limbs, trees and power lines? Please comment below or send your info to Caitlin.mahon@patch.com

Stay inside and be safe, everyone!

Update: Monday, 9:15 p.m.

Hurricane Sandy made landfall in Atlantic City around 8:30 p.m. tonight, packing winds of 97 mph.

The next few hours of this storm will be the worst, as Sandy continues to rip through New Jersey and surrounding states.

The New Providence Office of Emergency Management issued the following Code Red Alert at 8:55 p.m.:

We are experiencing heavy damage throughout town due to heavy winds. DO NOT GO OUTSIDE. There are many unmarked hazardous areas on our roadways.

Please call 9-1-1 for police, fire or medical emergencies only, or if you need sheltering.

New Providence residents on the New Providence-Berkeley Heights Facebook page say power is now also out on Runnymede Parkway, Livingston and Central Avenues, Charnwood, Fairview Avenue and Colchester Road.

Resident Sile Mazza said a large limb is down on Fairview that also pulled down power lines for one home. She also said another large tree is uprooted on Fairview that pulled down power lines and sliced a telephone pole in half.

What do you see and hear? Is your power out? See downed trees and power lines?

Please send us any photos and any information you have to Caitlin.Mahon@patch.com. You can also add information and photos here: http://patch.com/A-zc4x

 

Update: Monday, 6:40 p.m.

It’s safe to say Frankenstorm has officially arrived and will continue to scare us all through at least Tuesday.

Even more residents in New Providence and Berkeley Heights are now without power this evening, according to the JCP&L power outage map.

Outages:

  • New Providence - 696
  • Berkeley Heights - 53

Berkeley Heights Information

The Berkeley Heights Office of Emergency Management has issued an emergency declaration for Berkeley Heights and there is a travel ban now in effect.

“This means that only emergency vehicles and vehicles with emergency personnel will be permitted on municipal roadways after 5 p.m. This is for your safety and for the safety of others,” said Anthony Padovano, the Berkeley Heights OEM Coordinator, in a reverse 9-1-1 phone message. “This is a very dangerous storm and all people should be secured in their homes.”

Padovano said Hurricane Sandy will intensify throughout this evening and last into tomorrow. Rainfall amounts will be 3 to 6 inches for our area.

“Winds are expected to be sustained in excess of 48 mph, gusting from 60 to 75 mph.,” Padovano said. “High winds will continue through Wednesday.”

Mountainside Update

Several trees are down throughout Mountainside as of 6 p.m. today and some have taken out power lines, leaving 25 to 50 households without power, said Mountainside Police Captain Richard Osieja. All residents are asked to stay inside and off the roads, as the worst of Hurricane Sandy has yet to come.

“A State of Emergency has been declared by the Governor and I guess some people don’t feel it pertains to them for some reason. Earlier, we saw quite a bit of traffic out there. It was hampering our efforts getting to scenes and cleaning up scenes with trees and debris down in the roadway. They have to stay off the road, especially now, and not get rolled in a false sense of security right now. The calls have died down right now but again they are saying the worst is to come right now. The heavy winds are going to pick up again as the storm swings around,” Osieja said. “The only people who should be on the roads right now are essential emergency personnel. Nurses trying to get to overlook hospital, Nursing Home care, those kinds of people.”

Osieja said the Mountainside OEM is gearing up for the second wave of the storm, as the eye of the storm hasn’t hit Atlantic City but is expected to very soon.

“It will any time now. We’re figuring it’s going to pick up again, but it was very frantic right around 1 p.m. this afternoon. We logged over 30 calls for service between 1 p.m. and 5:50 p.m.,” Osieja said this evening. “Numerous large trees down, pulling services from houses, disconnecting power. On Route 22, we had to close it on several occasions down past Lawrence Avenue westbound on the Scotch Plains line because trees fell across the highway, blocking the whole westbound lane. Fortunately, NJDOT had their front-end loaders right at the yard here at Mountainside. They shot right down and were able to plow the trees off the highway at least so we could keep the highway open.”

Osieja said there is no time limit from PSE&G about when service will be restored to the 25 to 50 households that lost power today in Mountainside.

“Obviously, if there’s wires entwined in the trees, DPW or other tree cutting personnel are not even going to touch that tree with wires in it,” Osieja explained. “So it’s going to be difficult for a little bit. People just have to be patient and realize that, in due time, they will get out there to service them.”

At this time, no major roads in Mountainside are closed.

“We’re in good shape as far as roads being open,” Osieja said. “There are minor side roads closed due to downed trees and power lines.”

While displaced residents can seek shelter at Mountainside Borough Hall, no one is currently housed there as of 6 p.m. this evening.

Again, residents are advised to stay off the roads and in their homes tonight and tomorrow as Sandy rips through the area.

“If you do not have to be on the roads right now, it would be the worst time for you to go out,” Osieja said. “There are still high winds expected and obviously, with the ground being wet, the trees and stuff are liable to fall and it could be a safety issue.”

Taking photos? See downed trees and power lines? Is your power out?

Please send photos and any information you have to Caitlin.Mahon@patch.com. You can also add information and photos here: http://patch.com/A-zc4x

OUR CONTINUOUS COVERAGE OF HURRICANE SANDY

We'll continue to provide you with as much information as possible during and after Hurricane Sandy hits the New Providence, Berkeley Heights, Mountainside area.

To stay up-to-date on the storm's track and what you need to know from local emergency management, be sure to bookmark this link. It contains every article published on New Providence-Berkeley Heights Patch about Hurricane Sandy: http://newprovidence.patch.com/topics/hurricane-sandy-in-new-providence-berkeley-heights-mountainside

For even more news and updates about Hurricane Sandy, subscribe to our free newsletter, "like" us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NewProvidencePatch or follow @NewProvPatch on Twitter. We will post upates on the storm as they become available. 

Be safe, everyone!


Update: Monday, 4:40 p.m.

Hundreds of residents are without power in New Providence and Berkeley Heights, according to the JCP&L power outage map. At this time, no outages are reported in Mountainside.

Outages:

  • New Providence - 451
  • Berkeley Heights - 35

Outages in nearby towns:

  • Chatham Township - 2,767
  • Chatham Borough - 81
  • Summit - 283
  • Warren - 1,353
  • Long Hill Township - 35
  • Millburn - 455
  • Springfield - 298

JCP&L posted the following on their website:

"JCP&L is experiencing widespread power outages due to severe weather in our service area. Depending on the severity of the storm's impact on the electrical system, power outages could last up to seven to 10 days. Crew are assessing the situation and will begin service restoration work as soon as it's safe to do so.

If you have not yet reported your service as being out, please us the "report an outage" link or call 1-888-544-4877.

If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1.

Remember to treat all downed wires as live and dangerous. Customers should immediately report downed wires to JCP&L, or local police or fire departments."

Update: Monday, 4 p.m.

The Municipalities of Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Mountainside have each declared states of emergencies.

The County of Union has declared a State of Emergency from 6 p.m. tonight to 6 p.m. tomorrow night. All County buildings and offices will be closed and only essential personnel and emergency responders will be required to report to work.

The Union County Superior Court and Vicinage will also be closed tomorrow due to the hurricane.

In addition to New Providence, Berkeley Heights and Mountainside, the following muncipalities have also declared states of emergencies:

  • Roselle
  • Rahway
  • Clark
  • Winfield
  • Springfield
  • Cranford
  • Scotch Plains
  • Fanwood
  • Linden
  • Roselle Park

New Providence residents on Facebook are reporting power outages on Dogwood Lane, Livingston Avenue, Woodland and Greenwood, Chestnut, North View, Walton, Commonwealth and Colony Court. This outage information has not been confirmed yet with the New Providence Office of Emergency Management.

If your power goes out, remember to report the outage to JCP&L by calling 1-888-544-4877.

Update: Monday, 12:15 p.m.

The following information was published on the Borough of New Providence's website, newprov.org:

1. If you are without power and need to charge your cell phone and or laptop you may do so at the Municipal Center. The newly installed generator assures that power will be available. Please bring your cell phone or laptop charger.

2. Important information is available:

Register for Code Red – on the home page of our web-site www.newprov.org.

• NJ State www.ready.nj.gov.

• Union County - Sign up for alert updates from the County www.ucfirstalert.org

3. If you lose power call JCP&L at 1-888-544-4877 and report it. Don't assume that they are aware of your specific outage. By reporting the outage, it will be registered.

4. The New Providence Police phone number is 908-665-1111. PLEASE USE 9-1-1 FOR EMERGENCIES ONLY.

Update: Monday, 9:30 a.m.

The following information was received from the Borough of Mountainside via UC First Alert system:

A state of emergency has been declared. Only emergency vehicles should be on the roadways. You are safest during the storm by remaining home and indoors.

Mountainside and Berkeley Heights schools will remain closed today, Oct. 29 and tomorrow, Oct. 30.

If needed, shelter will be made available at the Mountainside Boro Hall building in the 2nd floor community room and court room.

Please do not call police headquarters for storm related information. Information will be sent out as needed via the Union County First Alert System. Tell your friends and neighbors to sign up for First Atlert at www.ucfirstalert.org

Only emergency calls should be made to police headquarters.

Additional storm information can be found at the NJ Office of Emergency Management web site www.ready.nj.gov

Our area can expect rain amounts between 3 and 6" with wind gusts up to 70 mph.
Flooding is expected in low lying areas.

If you have not done so already you should secure any exterior light weight items and move personal items to higher rooms if you have a flood prone basement.

Shelters are set up in New Providence at the Municipal Center, 360 Elkwood Ave., and in Berkeley Heights at Columbia Middle School, 345 Plainfield Ave.

The Suburban Chamber of Commerce provided a detailed update on closures throughout New Providence, Summit and Berkeley Heights. You can view that article here.

ORIGINAL STORY

Hurricane Sandy, also fittingly referred to as "Frankenstorm" and "Count Stormula," is creeping closer to New Jersey and will likely cause quite a scare in our area by Monday, just two days before Halloween.

Frankenstorm has prompted the New Providence, Berkeley Heights and Mountainside School Districts to close ALL schools on Monday, Oct. 29 and Tuesday, Oct. 30.

We all know what happened when Irene and Snowtober hit our area last year. With that in mind, officials in Berkeley Heights, Mountainside and New Providence have their plans and procedures in place to deal with damages sustained during and after Hurricane Sandy, and to ensure the safety of all residents.

[Send us your photos and observations from Hurricane Sandy]

BERKELEY HEIGHTS

Mayor Joe Bruno, Township Department Heads and Office of Emergency Management staff met late Friday afternoon and Sunday morning to go over their plans and procedures for the impending storm.

“We set up a command center at the fire house,” said Fire Chief Anthony Padovano, head of the Berkeley Heights Office of Emergency Management. “One of our primary responsibilities is keeping our residents advised now that we have [Global Connect Emergency Notification System], the reverse 9-1-1 system, at our disposal. We’ll utilize that this year; we didn’t have that during Irene.”

Berkeley Heights Police Lt. Frank Fortunato said every individual resident’s land-line in Berkeley Heights is already registered with Global Connect Emergency Notification System. However, Fortunato urges residents to also add their cell phones and email addresses to the system. That way, during and after the storm, residents can still receive updates on charged mobile devices.

Need to add your cell phone and email address to Global Connect? Go to bhpolice.org and click on the “Notification System” under “Quick Links,” located on the left hand side of the page. Or, click here.

Padovano said a temporary shelter is now set up at Columbia Middle School, located at 345 Plainfield Ave., for displaced residents. When that shelter is full, Padovano said residents will be referred to the Red Cross, which will have other shelters set up in the area.

“In all of our departments, what we do is make sure we have adequate staffing during and after the storm, make sure all the vehicles and equipment check out, especially with DPW, making sandbags. Barricades are already in place on roads because we’re anticipating flooding,” Padovano said. “Another one of our functions from OEM is making sure our responders are fed so they can continue working.”

Flooding is an issue in Berkeley Heights and the DPW has sandbags stocked at the DPW garage and preloaded on one of the department vehicles in case any residents need them, Padovano explained.

“I just put out a message to all residents in Berkeley Heights [Sunday afternoon], just advising them on the latest forecast and, in the event residents do elect to use generators, just to make sure that they’re done so safely and they're not putting them in garages, homes or basements because that will produce carbon monoxide from the engine exhaust of the generator,” Padovano said. “[Residents need to make] sure they’re putting them away from homes where there are no doors, windows or vents where carbon monoxide can go into their homes and create a hazardous condition.”

On Sunday morning, the OEM staff and Mayor Bruno had a conference call with Gov. Chris Christie and received the latest weather and storm preparation updates, Padovano said.

Mayor Bruno released the following information on the township’s website:

Dear Residents,

I just got off of a conference call with the Governor’s office. Here is the latest information and advice:

  1. The storm is heading our way and it is estimated that it will make landfall  Monday night in Ocean or Atlantic County, but we will feel the impact.
  2. The entire State is under a flood watch with 5”-10” of rain expected.
  3. There is a High Wind Warning in effect for all of Monday into Tuesday morning, with sustained winds of 34-45 miles per hour and gusts of 55-65 miles per hour.
  4. With the rain and the wind, power outages are expected as trees and limbs fall.
  5. Local flooding may occur.
    • During the height of the storm, please stay in your home and off the street so emergency vehicles and utility trucks may pass through uninhibited.
    • If you are in a area that is prone to flooding, I ask that you make your contingency plans now to evacuate and stay with family and/or friends.
    • If needed, our local shelter will be at Columbia Middle School on Plainfield Ave.
    • If you are without power and need to charge your phone and or laptop, you may do so at Town Hall, providing we have power.
    • For current information, here are a few websites that you should have handy: NJ State Site www.ready.nj.gov, County Site and to sign up for alert updates from both the County and Township www.ucfirstalert.org, and, of course, we will post updates on the Township website at www.berkeleyheightstwp.com
    • If you lose power, call JCP&L at 1-888-544-4877 and report it. Don’t assume that they know; by calling, it will be registered.  
    • The regular Police number is (908) 464-1111. PLEASE ONLY USE 9-1-1 FOR AN EMERGENCY.

If you should lose power, please contact JCP&L by calling (888) 544-4877 (1-888-LIGHTSS) or at the 24/7 Power Center at outages at www.jcp-l.com. The 24/7 Power Center features a dynamic on-line map that delivers fast and accurate outage information to desktops, smart phones and mobile devices.

Please review the alerts on UC First Alert or monitor the NOAA website at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov or the National Weather Service at http://www.weather.gov/nyc.

View Important Storm Preparedness Information From the Red Cross: 

Checklist

Food & Water

Family Disaster Plan

Any additional information will be distributed as soon as we receive it.

Best Regards,

Joseph G. Bruno
Mayor
Township of Berkeley Heights
29 Park Ave.
Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922

NEW PROVIDENCE

Update:

The following notifications have been published on the borough's website, newprov.org, and sent to residents via the Code Red Alert system —

JCP&L Continues Preparation Plans for Hurricane Sandy

JCP&L continues our peparation plans for Hurricane Sandy, Key points in preparation are:

  • Individuals should prepare for the possibility of outages lasting 7 to 10 days
  • High winds could prolong restoration efforts
  • Critical care and well water customers should review their individual and local emergency plans for this event
  • JCP&L will coordinate priorities through the County Offices of Emergency Management
  • Your Area Manager is always available to you. Additional communications support will aid the local Area Managers throughout this event.
  • Customers must report outages for JCP&L to know they are out of power
  • Reporting a power outage: (888) 544-4877 (888-LIGHTSS)
  • Customer Service: (800) 662-3115
  • Follow us on: Twitter: @JCP_L
  • Facebook: www.facebook.com/JCPandL 24/7
  • Power Center outages: www.jcp-l.com
  • Web Site: www.firstenergycorp.com

Brush and Leaf Pickup Canceled

This is an important message from the New Providence Office of Emergency Management. Brush and Leaf pickup scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, Oct. 29 has been canceled. Do not put bags or cans out for pick up. The rescheduled pick up dates will be posted on the borough website once they have been determined.

JCP&L Weather Advisory Update

Jersey Central Power & Light is monitoring the current weather and has activated its storm response plan. JCP&L line crews are prepared to begin restoration efforts should power outages occur. JCP&L has also brought in additional forestry crews, hazard responders and support personnel to assist. Customers can report power outages by calling 888-544-4877 (1-888-LIGHTSS) or at the 24/7 Power Center at outages at www.jcp-l.com. The 24/7 Power Center features a dynamic on-line map that delivers fast and accurate outage information to desktops, smart phones and mobile devices. JCP&L reminds customers to report any downed wires to the company, their local police or fire departments. Customers should always assume downed wires are carrying electricity and are reminded to keep their children and pets away from downed wires. Customers should also never try to remove threes or limbs from power lines because they could conduct electricity. Follow JCP&L on Twitter@JCP_L and Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL

10/27/12 Storm Update

In preparation for a potential storm event, Emergency Management Officials would like you to be aware of the following important information:

To reduce flooding and facilitate adequate drainage, please remove all leaves from the vicinity of storm drains so that they do not block the flow of water into the drains. Scheduled leaf vacuuming may be modified. Check the borough website for collection updates. If you have a storm drain in front of your house, your help in keeping it clear would be appreciated. Residents should type www.newprov.org into your smart phone or home computer browser to access the latest emergency and storm updates. Make sure your friends and neighbors are registered for Code Red updates. Log onto the borough website to register. Be sure to charge all phones and electronic devices in case of a power outage.

Original New Providence Story:

Irene and Snowtober hit New Providence hard last year, knocking out power for most, if not all, of the borough, even limiting power at the Municipal Center.

But thanks to a new generator, power at two essential borough buildings won’t be a problem when Hurricane Sandy hits our area.

“Our new addition to our building here, which should be of great assistance to us, is a generator that generates our entire building here at the Municipal Center and our Rescue Squad,” said New Providence Police Chief Anthony Buccelli. “We didn’t have that last year. It was a long time waiting. We have it and we’re good to go.”

Buccelli said they stock piled water and have generators ready to go. In addition, he met with all essential personnel yesterday afternoon in New Providence and they will continue to meet on a regular basis.

Like Mountainside, Buccelli and his team met with the Union County Office of Emergency Management Friday afternoon and have already made many other preparations.

On Monday morning at 9 a.m., Buccelli said he will meet with all borough employees, essential personnel and the Emergency Management Committee to “get a better handle on what’s going on.”

All other New Providence resources are set and ready to go, Buccelli said, including heavy duty trucks and equipment. Boats are also on standby if they are needed.

While the borough is busy with their preparations, Buccelli is asking for assistance from residents before the storm hits.

“We’re asking them to help us and keep the catch basins in and around their properties clear of debris, mainly leaves because this time of the year is the leaf pickup program,” Buccelli explained. “We ask that if people have leaves in and around catch basins, keep them clear so we can ensure adequate drainage.”

While New Providence officials are not making barriers in flood-prone areas of the borough, sandbags are available to New Providence residents and can be picked up at the New Providence Department of Public Works, located at 1 PArk Pl in New Providence, Buccelli said.

“We’re just offering sandbags to residents. We know where our areas of concern with us,” Buccelli explained. “We work closely with Glenside Nursing Home. They boarded that bank by the stream behind Gales Drive that crosses by Our Lady of Peace Church. That’s right next to them. In our past experiences, it’s been difficult if we need to get people out of there because people are wheelchair-bound. So we’ve coordinated with them already, as we’ve always done in the past, and they are taking the necessary precautions to protect their building. We’ve coordinated efforts if we need to evacuate them out of there.”

Buccelli said residents should make the following preparations now for the storm:

  • Stay tuned to major networks for storm updates
  • Get an AM radio with extra batteries
  • Have plenty of candles on hand with matches
  • Stock up on water and non-perishables
  • Fill your bath tub with water so you have a fresh supply

If residents need shelter during or after the storm, Buccelli said residents can come to the Municipal Center, located at 360 Elkwood Ave., and bring the bare necessities.

“We’re all set to go. Our shelter will be here and we’ll be here for people,” he said. "The only advice I can give people is make sure your electronic devices are charged up. Should you lose power, you can still have communication on the battery.”

Can’t get to the Municipal Center on your own?

Buccelli said residents can call the New Providence Police Department at (908) 665-1111 and make arrangements to get picked up and brought to the Municipal Center.

Are you signed up for the borough’s Code Red Alerts?

If not, you should sign up now. The New Providence Office of Emergency Management will be sending out important updates to residents through the Code Red Alert System.

To sign up, go to the borough's website, newprov.org, and click on "Code Red" on the right hand side of the page. Or, click here.

MOUNTAINSIDE

Early Friday afternoon, Mountainside Police Captain Richard Osieja said the Mountainside Emergency Management team was meeting in Westfield at 2 p.m. to meet with the Union County Office of Emergency Management, get an update on the path of the storm and to go over all procedures set in place for when the storm hits the area.

“We’re reviewing our work schedules to ensure we have a full compliment of personnel available,” Osieja said. “Just the little things, like making sure cars are gassed up, making sure we have all of our traffic cones. We have a couple of 4-by-4 pick up trucks that we use to get to scenes in inclement weather.”

Osieja said they are also ensuring that the electronic sign board outside Mountainside Borough Hall, located at 1385 US Highway 22 Mountainside, NJ 07092, is working properly in case any information needs to be posted for residents, such as the re-routing of roads, where trees are down, and so on.

While the borough isn’t putting up any barriers, they are coordinating with the Union County Office of Emergency Management.

“If, in fact, something like that happens — trees down or wires down — we work very well with them and that’s why we’re going to this meeting to make sure everything is coordinated and we’re all on the same page,” Osieja said.

While an exact shelter location for Mountainside residents hasn’t been announced, Osieja said Borough Hall or one of the local Mountainside elementary schools will likely serve as a shelter for any residents who need it.

“We’ll definitely have power here at Borough Hall because we have an emergency generator so I would recommend they contact us here and they’ll be told where they can go,” he said.

Call (908) 232-8100 to reach the Mountainside Police Department.

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