State serves up storm prep drill on the rocks

Beware of falling ice Thursday and Friday.

NORWALK, Conn. – Break out the mittens and the ice scrapers – an ice storm is expected to hit part of Norwalk on Thursday and Friday.

Word of the impending climatological anomaly did not come via the National Weather Service, The Weather Channel or even through Norwalk’s Code Red system. Rather, in what looked like it might be a mistake, a press release from Gov. Dannel Malloy’s office announced Tuesday that “a two-day statewide emergency preparedness drill designed to simulate a major ice storm in the western part of the state” will be held June 20-21. 

Under orders from the governor, Norwalk’s emergency management personnel will be simulating an ice storm for their annual hurricane season drill as the temperatures get close to 80 degrees.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman is in on it, too.

“This exercise continues our commitment to ensure that the people of Connecticut receive the timely, coordinated response they deserve when the next inevitable catastrophe hits,” Wyman said in the release. “These two days will create a blueprint of how we can improve our preparation heading into the height of hurricane season.”

Especially if the hurricane is accompanied by an ice storm.

Norwalk Office of Emergency Management Deputy Director Michelle DeLuca didn’t see anything unusual in the drill.

“While the timing of the state exercise remains the same (mid to late June) the scenario will change annually, rather than focus only on hurricanes,” she said in an email.  “Given the experiences many towns had during the blizzard, the state opted to focus on this topic. Most likely we’ll be working the exercise as if its December or January.”

The two-day exercise will be segmented into two, one-day drills, the release said.  Each day’s drill is designed to test a specific, unique set of protocols dealing with the response to and recovery from the storm.

DeLuca said that would involve things like simulated emails about cars crashing on the ice and DPW trucks running off the road, notifications of downed power lines and maybe collapsing roofs.

“Items could include sheltering issues, impact of long-term power outages on communities and how communities plan for their recovery,” she said in an email.

Perhaps they will turn up the air conditioning?

The press release ends with a warning.

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a very active hurricane season with 13 to 20 named storms,” it states. “Around 7 to 11 of them could become hurricanes, with 3 to 6 possibly becoming major hurricanes. This is well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.”



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