www.goleader.com September 25, 2003
The Westfield Leader and The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Times

Isabel Damage, 03sep19, Rahway Avenue, Westfield

Isabel Causes Downed Trees, Power Outages

Hurricane Isabel may have been a tropical storm by the time it hit Westfield on Thursday night, but high winds causing downed trees and wires forced school closings on Friday. The streets were littered with debris on Friday morning as many began their commute to work. Major streets, including Rahway Avenue, East Broad Street and Boulevard, as well as many side streets, were closed around town.

The Westfield Fire Department responded to 70 storm related calls for downed trees and wires. According to Westfield Fire Department Chief John Castellano, extra manpower had to be called in, in order to barricade off damaged areas.

Chief Castellano told The Westfield Leader that some residents had to relocate from their homes due to broken telephone poles with transformers that were too close to homes. According to the chief, no one required assistance from the Red Cross. Due to a power line down on East Broad Street, the Westfield Memorial Library was without power on Thursday and Friday. Power was not fully restored until Saturday.

Chief Castellano stated that schools were closed because some didn’t have power and because down wires caused safety hazards for children who would normally walk to school. He explained that many of the wires that were down were “primaries,” meaning that they carry high voltage.

Mayor Gregory McDermott said that the Department of Public Works (DPW) “rose to the occasion” taking care of approximately 15 downed town owned trees. According to the mayor, the DPW was working with public service to remove trees entangled in wires. The Conservation Center on Lamberts Mill Road is open to all Westfield residents who need to drop off debris from the storm. The town will not pick up debris on the curbside.

03sep25, Westfield Cleanup Details From Hurricane Isabel -- The Westfield Department of Public Works is still heavily involved in cleaning up from Hurricane Isabel associated damage to Town trees, and will not pick up any branches or other tree parts that residents have put at curbside. Residents may, however, bring such material to the Town Conservation Center, located on Lamberts Mill Road, on Thursdays and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. or Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A decal will not be required, but proof of residency or ownership of property must be shown. For more information and public works contacts, see the town website: www.westfieldnj.net or call (908) 789-4100.



Isabel Leaves Central/Northern NJ Largely Untouched

September 19, 2003
Tropical storm Isabel passed largely to the west of the area Thursday night, leaving the area with only scattered damaged and some loss of power from fallen trees and tree limbs. Rainfall was only modest. This Friday morning, the weather is clearing rapidly; sunny, invigorating balmy breeze. Things are returning to normal and a beautiful weekend is forecast.

September 17, 2003
Local Authorities Prepare For Isabel Storm Possibility

From the time that hurricane Isabel was projected to be heading for the east coast, Union County officials have been preparing to assist the public in case of an emergency. The head of Union County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Ben Laganga, has been following the category two hurricane closely, and he has been conferring with his staff.

Mr. Laganga told The Westfield Leader and The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Times that the county has been very active in preparing for the possibility of the hurricane hitting our area. The county OEM has met with the county planners and municipal emergency managers to discuss procedures. They communicate with the State Police and National Weather Service on a daily basis for information.

Mr. Laganga gave some tips for people to follow. Prepare in advance for a possible emergency. Have an ample supply of bottled water or water that has been put in containers before the hurricane hits. Have plenty of flash lights and batteries on hand in case the power goes out. Those taking medication should have all prescriptions filled so as not to run out. Because of the fire hazard, the public is advised not to use candles if the electricity fails.

Westfield Fire Chief John Castellano is the emergency manager for Westfield. He told the The Leader/Times that they are prepared and all the necessary equipment is ready. Other area managers who deal with all possible emergency situations are Howard Drewes for Fanwood, Paul Malool for Scotch Plains and Councilman Keith Turner for Mountainside, assisted by Mountainside Police Chief James Debbie.

Westfield Police Chief Bernard Tracey told The Leader/Times that the police are ready for “what ever comes our way.” If necessary, Westfield police will post emergency messages on TV36 using their emergency broadcast system. Chief Tracey said that the police also have a telephone system that can automatically call Westfield citizens to let them know what to do in case of emergency.

For additional information, websites of the towns and this newspaper can be consulted. These sites are goleader.com, westfieldnj.net, visitfanwood.com and scotchplainsnj.com.