Like many other towns in the mid-state region, Rocky Hill avoided the serious destruction that Hurricane Sandy wrought in other parts of Connecticut and the northeastern United States.
"In terms of property damage, yes, we were fortunate," said Town Manager Barbara Gilbert. "The worst weather seems to have circled the center of Connecticut."
Aside from the storm's path, Gilbert identifies Rocky Hill's enhanced readiness for weather-related emergencies as another reason why Sandy caused only moderate disruption to town life. The town upped its level of preparation for meteorological catastrophes after it was paralyzed for multiple days last year by Hurricane Irene.
One measure that was implemented was to coordinate in advance with utilities providers on storm-response. On this point, Gilbert extends effusive thanks to Northeast Utilities.
"They provided us both with line crews and tree crews."
But, she also admits that the fact that the town and encompassing region remained clear of the most of the hurricane's devastation was attributable to "pure luck."
Sandy did knock out power in almost 30 percent of town residences, but, as of Tuesday night, less than 2 percent were still waiting for its return. Gilbert will not commit to an ETA as to when the remaining homes will have their lights back on, but officials are "hopeful for tomorrow," she says.
Officials also made the determination to close the town shelter at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, after it began to admit people Monday afternoon. Every person who lodged at the shelter overnight either returned to their homes or made alternate arrangements, and no new requests for lodging were received, according to Gilbert.
Officials' primary focus Tuesday was to accomplish the necessary steps to open school Wednesday, a reversal of the school district's earlier decision. In order to rescind school closings once they have been officially announced, a series of bureaucratic procedures must be completed at the state level.
Students disappointed to be back in class a day earlier than expected may take consolation that Wednesday's designated trick-or-treating hours will be kept in place. "Halloween is on," Gilbert cheerfully confirms.
Officials also want to make residents aware of two changes made by Governor Malloy in the hurricane's wake. First, voter-registration period has been extended through Thursday, Nov 1. Second, the deadline to file personal property audit statements has been pushed back from Nov. 1 to Nov. 15.