As Hurricane Sandy passes over the Bahamas and heads up the East Coast, the Caldwells are bracing for a potentially catastrophic and historic storm being called "Frankenstorm" for its potential to wreak havoc in time for Halloween.
Local police departments are advising residents to be prepared for strong winds and heavy rain, which are likely to hit the area late Sunday and into Tuesday and could collide with a winter storm brewing in the Midwest.
The Borough of North Caldwell has posted a hurricane preparedness checklist on its website, where updates will be posted during the storm.
The town’s Department of Public Works has begun clearing storm drains and is asking residents to remove leaves and debris if they have drains on their properties.
PSE&G has reported that all available personnel as well as tree crews are ready to respond beginning this weekend.
The utility said there is a potential for widespread power outages due to uprooted trees, downed branches and lightning.
“Depending on the severity of the storm, response times for both electric and gas emergency services may be longer than usual,” the utility stated in a release.
With the devasting impact of Hurricane Irene fresh on their minds, residents are preparing for the worst by stocking up on batteries and flashlights and purchasing generators and water.
One of the first displays at the Montville Home Depot at the western end of Bloomfield Avenue Friday morning held rain gear, extension cords and flashlights. By 9 a.m., several of the items were picked over. The battery shelf still had plenty of double A and triple A batteries, but the D batteries—the ones most commonly used in flashlights—were already sold out.
Sears Hardware in West Caldwell had batteries, but a line 10 people deep stood waiting to buy supplies and order generators that would be delivered on Saturday. By 9:10 a.m., the store had run out of generators and told the customers in the line they had no more to sell.
ShopRite customers in West Caldwell loaded up on water and perishable goods, but the bread, milk and produce aisles remained stocked all morning.
Patch will bring you frequent updates on the storm.