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Irene Barreling Toward US With Stonington In Its Sights

Local Businesses, Students, Officials React

No matter where precisely Irene makes landfall in the Northeast on Sunday afternoon, Stonington will experience a storm the likes of which, officials say, hasn’t been seen in decades.

“It’s heading our way,” said Stonington First Selectman Edward Haberek Jr.

And while batteries and bottled water are quickly vanishing from store shelves, other signs of preparation are not so obvious. And for some, when considering the potentially damaging impact of Hurricane Irene, it’s simply a matter of history, luck and perhaps even prayer.

“This is not our first rodeo,” said of Mystic owner David Blaney.

He and his wife Kathleen (married 40 years) have run the celebrated ‘clam shack’ for 26 years.

“And in that time, we’ve weathered plenty of storms including Bob, 19 years ago. We’ll pray to the good Lord to go through this one un-, or mildly-scathed.”

Blaney said while he has no plans to board up the mostly glass and metal building, he will take other precautions.

“Obviously I’ll take the tent down and take in tables and [garbage cans] and maybe I’ll tape [the windows] but that’s it,” he said. “We’ll pray.”

The storm is anticipated Sunday but weather conditions are expected to deteriorate quickly beginning Saturday, right in the middle of the much-anticipated  many merchants were looking forward to.

“We’re not exactly sure what to expect,” said co-owner Melissa Carrier. “Unfortunately, this is the last big weekend of summer and we’re thinking about that, but also our big concern now is damage.” Carrier and her sister Crissa own the popular bath and body product shop on Cottrell Street in downtown Mystic.

“This could still be a big [sales)]weekend for us since Sunday isn’t usually our best day; Friday and Saturday are. So if it can hold off that would really help.”

Carrier said she is a bit concerned about sales and business, but also safety and damage to the store and inventory.

“I will talk to the landlord,” she said. “Should we board up? I don’t know. Someone said we should take all our stock out. I don’t know about that.”

Though not officially the last weekend of summer -- next weekend is the Labor Day holiday -- this is the last weekend before Stonington schools reopen next Thursday.

Does a hurricane ruin it?

“Actually, I think it’s gonna be kind cool,” said Emily Piktelis as she headed out of Thursday’s freshman orientation at .

Haberek cautions residents to be aware and prepared.

“There’s some complacency going on because it’s been a while and we’ve had [false alarms]. But this is it. We are going to see a bad storm and people really need to be prepared.”

The town’s Emergency Operations Center at Stonington Police Station will activate as Irene moves closer. Stonington High School has been prepared as the town's official shelter and the town plans to alert residents of evacuation plans via mass phone and email messages as well as a “”

Lisa Saunders August 26, 2011 at 11:42 AM
I was trapped for hours in a train with my disabled daughter Elizabeth during Hurricane Floyd. It was truly terrifying watching the waters rise and wondering how I was going to swim to safety with her if necessary. The only comic relief was a New York woman screaming that the snack car had run out biscottis. Elizabeth could only eat soft foods, so several passangers graciously gave me their yogurt so she wouldn't go hungry. If interested in reading more about Floyd and Elizabeth's Excellent Adventure, visit my website at www.authorlisasaunders.com

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