Hit Hard By Irene, Families Anxious Over Hurricane Sandy's Fury


Connecticut Lost Power for Days

Given past storms, Palmer is convinced, "We will definitely lose power. Last year we were out for eight days."

Her husband, who is a technology expert, ignored the storm warnings to go to work today, but Palmer is afraid he'll be stranded tonight when the full force of Sandy arrives.

"The governor called a press conference and so far wants the employees in the state to follow his lead and shut down all state employment," she said. "He will close the highway when winds reach a steady 45 miles per hour – and they expect that at 3."

Forecasters have said winds might reach 50 or 60, even 90 miles per hour or more in Connecticut by late afternoon.

Meanwhile, Palmer's 21-year-old son, who lives at home, but is serving with the Marine Corp Reserve's tree service, a subcontractor for Connecticut Light and Power.

"Last night they had a safety meeting and he was called," said said. "He was told to pack a bag with several days' worth of clothing, food and a can opener."

Back in central New Jersey where the brunt of the storm will hit land, about 150 boarding students are stranded at Peddie School.

Peddie students Hana-May Eadeh (left) and Emily Herman catch up on some studying during a Sandy-related day off from school. Fewer than half of the school's usual 350 boarders have remained on campus to weather the storm.

English teacher Alyssa Peterson Morreale has seen hurricanes come and go in her native Florida, but Hurricane Sandy has got her rattled. She is holding down a dorm of nine teenage girls with her two daughters because her husband's flight home from Atlanta was cancelled.

"He was supposed to come home this morning, but obviously that isn't happening," said Morreale, 37, who has two daughters, 3 and 20 months.

The Hightstown, N.J., prep school asked all parents of students to pick up their children Sunday for the duration of the storm and cancelled classes today.

"We've been monitoring the predicted path and intensity of the storm, and classes will be canceled tomorrow," said public relations spokesman Deanna Ferrante.

The school has generators, as well as stores of food and water for those who remain on campus and a host of contingency plans.

About 70 students, faculty and staff responded to a call from the town to fill sandbags to protect vital areas of town. Last year during Hurricane Irene, the sewage treatment plant was flooded, leaving residents without water for days.

But for now, Morreale and her students are enjoying what would have been "pajama day" at school, relaxing in the dorm. School officials have ordered students to stay in the dorms after 1 p.m. today when the brunt of the hurricane is expected to hit locally.

"There are not too many people here and we are quietly waiting it out," said Emily Herman, an 18-year-old senior from Montgomery, N.J. She would have gone home, but her parents are in Spain visiting her sister who is studying abroad.

"Right now, I am excited," she said of Sandy's arrival. "I've had a whirlwind of emotions the past two days. But honesty, I am probably safer here than in my own town. There are generators and I don't have to travel."

One of the concerns is that the deadline for early college applications is just two days away – on Nov. 1. Morreale said she hopes colleges will be understanding about potentially late applications if the school loses power.

But mostly, stranded students are praying their Internet coverage isn't lost. "It would be a shock for them to be unplugged," said Morreale.

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