Hurricane Sandy Update (9 p.m.): 'Winds Have Increased Tremendously'
Continue to check this story for updates on what you need to know about Hurricane Sandy if you live in Cranford.
(Oct. 29, 9:10 p.m) Police Say Numerous Traffic Lights Not Working
According to a recent alert from the Cranford Police Department, "Winds have increased tremendously. We are experiencing many downed trees and wires. Numerous traffic signals are no longer working. As a reminder there is a travel ban and curfew currently in effect. For your safety and the safety of our emergency response personnel, stay indoors."
In addition, the Cranford Fire Department has all units out in town, responding to numerous calls involving fires, downed trees and power lines and transformer/power line fires. Residents throughout Cranford and other parts of the county are reporting seeing repeated flashed of light that are believed to be transformer explosions.
According to one resident who posted on the Cranford Patch Facebook Page, three pine trees are leaning on the power lines two doors down from Dooley Funeral home, on the north side of North Avenue West.
To report a power outage to PSE&G, call 1-800-436-7734.
(Oct. 29, 5:30 p.m.) At Least 11 Trees, Wires Down
With Hurricane Sandy less than an hour away from striking the New Jersey Coast, Cranford Police are reporting several trees down, streets closed and power lines down.
Five street closures have been reported in Cranford: Orchard Street is closed between Hampton Street and Tulip Street; Maple Place is closed between Casino Avenue and Orange Avenue; Haskins Avenues between Bloomingdale Avenue and Adams Avenue; Lexington Avenue between Mohawk Drive and Osage Drive and Bloomingdale Avenue between Elizabeth Avenue and Sailer Street.
There are currently eleven trees with wires down. There are currently no widespread power outages. Only a few indidual service lines are down.
For more news and updates about Hurricane Sandy, subscribe to our free newsletter, "like" us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CranfordPatch or follow @CranfordPatch on Twitter. We will post upates on the storm as they become available.
(Oct. 29, 3:50 p.m.) Roads Closed Due To Downed Trees, Lines
There are two road closures due to downed trees/wires in Cranford, according to the Cranford Police Deprtment.
- Orchard Street is closed between Hampton Street and Tulip Street
- Maple Place is closed between Casino Avenue and Orange Avenue.
(Oct. 29, 3:30 p.m.) Dozens Take Shelter at Community Center
As the wind speed began to intensify, officials at the Cranford Recreation Department reported that at least 60 people had taken shelter at the Community Center on Walnut Avenue.
According to workers at the Center, the location is set up to accomodate approximately 140 people who must flee their homes as a result of the dangerous conditions posed by Hurricane Sandy.
This number is far greater than the number of people who sought hselter at the community center last year, as Hurricane Irene approached the region. During last year's storm, fewer than a dozen people filetered into the recreation building in advance of the bad weather.
Those who need to take shelter at the community center should be advised that pets are allowed, but owners should bring crates and pet food with them. In addition, residents are urged to bring their own toiletries/personal hygeine items. A limited supply of food and drink will also be available.
(Oct. 29, 12:20 p.m.) Local State of Emergency Declared
The Township of Cranford has declared a Local State of Emergency due to Hurricane Sandy. This declaration sets the following regulations:
- Evacuation: A mandatory evacuation as set forth in the Township of Cranford flood evacuation map to be completed by noon on Oct. 29. The Cranford Community Center has been set up as an evacuation shelter.
- Travel ban: All non-essential motor vehicle traffic is prohibited from local roads and streets effective at noon on Monday, until further notice.
- Curfew: A curfew is in effect from 7 p.m. Monday until 7 p.m. Tuesday.
In addition, the Township Committee meetings scheduled for Oct. 29 and 30 have been canceled.
(Oct. 28, 2 p.m.) Mandatory Evacuation Issued
At approximately 2 p.m. Sunday, Cranford officials issued a mandatory evacuation for homes located in the township's flood zone as a result of Hurricane Sandy, which is expected to begin making landfall in new Jersey tonight.
For a map of the evacuation zone, click here. According to Recreation Director Steve Robertazzi, the Cranford Community Center will serve as an evacuation shelter. Staff will be on hand beginning at 5 p.m. tonight.
Officials say schools and township offices will be closed and the Township Committee workshop meeting scheduled for tomorrow night will be canceled. Union County College will also be closed on Monday.
Congressman Leonard Lance, R-7, met with local officials at town hall Friday to discuss measures that are being taken to prepare Cranford for Hurricane Sandy. The township has also been broadcasting nightly videos to keep residents updated as the storm approaches. According to reports, there's some good news, and some bad news.
The bad news, officials said during a TV35 broadcast last night, is that Hurricane Sandy will be a "major wind event" that could bring in "strong, damaging sustained winds of 40-60 mph, with gusts up to 80 mph for a period of 24 to 48 hours."
"There are still predictions and these are still models and we won't have more certain paths and certain forecasts until we get closer to Monday," Lt. James Wozniak of the Cranford Police Department said during the broadcast.
The winds could bring down trees, branches and power lines throughout the duration of the storm.
On a (very slightly) more positive note, officials told Congressman Lance that forecasters are predicting up to 6 inches of rain overall. Hurricane Irene dumped almost 9 inches on the area. Township Engineer Richard Marsden pointed out that, unlike Irene, the rain will fall over a period of about 48 hours, which may give at least some of the water time to absorb into the ground or recede into local rivers and streams. Rain from Irene fell quickly, over a shorter period of time, resulting is catastrophic flooding. Officials maintain, however, that this is only a prediction and that the course of the storm and the conditions may change.
"It's too early to tell," Police Chief Eric Mason reiterated during the meeting.
Due to the danger that Hurricane Sandy poses, officials have announced that Cranford Public Schools will be closed on Monday. During Hurricane Irene last year, flood waters resulted in heavy damage to some of the school buildings, including Brookside Place School, which remained closed for several months as repairs were made.
In advance of the storm, officials are reminding residents to have their emergency kits ready, inclduing non-perishable food, batteries, water and flashlights. Residents are also being urged to remove all leaved from the streets so that they do not clog the storm basins. All outdoor furniture should be secured and Halloween decorations should be taken down, if possible.
Residents looking for a place to park their cars during the storm can go to the following locations: Union County College lots on Springfield Avenue; Orange Avenue Pool parking lot, Centennial Avenue Pool Upper lot (close to Centennial Ave), Municipal Parking Garage, and any school lots other than Brookside Place and the High School