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Shoreline towns and marinas prepare for effects of Tropical Storm Fay


OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (WTNH) — Tropical Storm Fay is heading our way. While it is not exactly a superstorm, some along the shoreline are getting ready for some nasty weather.

Folks in Old Saybrook remember Irene and Sandy and so they are not taking any chances. Even if it’s not going to be all that bad, the people News 8 found along the shoreline are going with the philosophy of “better safe than sorry.” They set up the high school as an emergency shelter on Thursday night. Of course, that has its own challenges during a pandemic.

“Sheltering this year is much different because of the coronavirus,” explained Chief Michael Spera of the Old Saybrook Police Dept. “So we’ll be social distancing, and a lot of PPE will be in place for anyone that has to seek shelter here at the high school.”

At Saybrook Point, it was a normal day of boating and fishing. Nothing happening yet, but Joe knows to be wary of tropical storms.

“Yeah, well I’m 83 years old. I saw a few that’s for sure,” said Clinton resident Joe Mosca as he looked out on the water. “Scares the hell out of you.”

While this may be the calm before the storm, it is also the time to take precautions. Mosca is already going through his checklist.

“Just a few chairs on my front deck that I’ll have to bring in, but nothing else,” Mosca said.

There is a lot more to worry about at shoreline marinas. At Safe Harbor Bruce and Johnson’s Marina in Branford, they first check out the docks.

“Make sure all the chains and pilings are in good shape. Second thing is look at the customer’s boats,” said Manager Bruce Kurlya. “Look at their lines, double up some lines, suggest that they take care of theirs first. And you always want to reduce windage.”

You do that by makling sure all sails and enclosures are properly stored. This is the busy season for boating, and for all kinds of summer activities. Storms like Irene and Sandy hit much later in the year. This mid-July timing poses an extra challenge for emergency planners in Old Saybrook.

“So this is the height of rental season for all of our beach cottages, normally when we see these kinds of storms its later in the season when the beach areas aren’t as populated,” sid Chief Spera. “More of a significant population this time that we must prepare to shelter if need be.”

Fay is not just hitting Connecticut, of course. Tropical Storm warnings are up from the southern end of New Jersey all the way to Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Chief Meteorologist Gil Simmons will give you the details from the Storm Team 8 weather center.

Fay is the earliest ever storm with an “F” name. So this is the earliest we have ever had a 7th named storm. Getting storms this early in the season means extra challenges for the shoreline.

“So what’s different about a tropical storm right now is that our beach communities are fully stocked, so this is the height of the rental season for all of our beach cottages, normally when we see these kinds of storms, it’s later in the season when the beach areas are populated. more of a significant population this time that we must prepare to shelter if need be,” Chief Spera said.

Spera adds that if you have somewhere you can go now and spend the night that is not right along the shoreline, it might not be a bad idea.

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