Montville – Melissa Hollingsworth and her family have become experts in hurricane preparedness over the last 14 months.
Tropical Storm Irene left them without power for seven days in their home here off Raymond Hill Road. This morning they were going into their third day without power because of widespread outages throughout town caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Hollingsworth and three of her children visited the Leonard J. Tyl Middle School this morning to take showers at the school. They were aware the school was open by checking the Internet at the Otis Library in Norwich.
They've been busy at home moving perishable food to their deep freezer and taking other precautions to make it through the aftermath of the storm.
"We're doing fine. You learn how to live differently," Hollingsworth said a few minutes after using a hand dryer in a Tyl bathroom to dry her hair. "We did this for seven days last year and we know how the routine will go."
Connecticut Light & Power reported at noon today that 65 percent of the town was without power. Approximately 5,200 of the utility company's customers in town were still waiting for their service to be restored.
Power is still out on sections of Route 32 and crews are working to restore power to the town's wastewater treatment plant. It is currently running on a generator.
Mayor Ronald K. McDaniel Jr. said there have been a few issues with CL&P and its contractors. For instance, crews in town yesterday waited about four hours for direction orders and didn't start working on clearing many roads until 1 p.m., McDaniel said.
That caused crews to lose about four or five hours of valuable work time, although things have since improved.
"They responded far better today so far," the mayor said. "They're doing a bang-up job today of getting roads open and we do have restoration crews in town."
The middle school will remain open until 7 tonight for people who wish to take showers or fill up water jugs at the school's pump station. The Montville Firehouse is the main base for public works, police and other crews in town. People are encouraged to visit that firehouse or the town's three others – Chesterfield, Oakdale or Mohegan – for water or to charge their cell phones.
At about 11:15 this morning, Raymond Occhialini, the town's fire marshal and emergency response director, received a pallet of bottled water from the National Guard. The bottled water will be available at the town's social services office near the Town Hall.
McDaniel has instructed townspeople to use discretion when deciding whether to allow their children to participate tonight in Halloween trick or treating. He said that roads without street lights may be unsafe.