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Sunday, September 14, 2003

Westport Officials Prepare for Terrorist Drill, Hurricane Watch

Westport Officials Prepare for Terrorist Drill, Hurricane Watch
First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell is among Westport officials invited to attend an exercise Monday in Stamford aimed at making Fairfield County better prepared for a terrorist attack.

But with Hurricane Isabel, with top winds of 155 mph, forecast to hit the U.S. East Coast by the end of the week, the exercise took on added significance and urgency, according to planning officials.

The same local agencies would be involved in responding to a natural disaster as well as a man-made one, the officials said, and lessons learned in Mondays drill could apply equally to a terrorist attack or a hurricane.

In addition to the ғtable-top exercise, which envisions a simulated terrorist attack in Stamford, U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays will hold a field hearing in Stamford of his National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations subcommittee.

Forecasters said they expected Isabel to hit the U.S. East Coast by the end of the week, but they added that air currents and condition could push it further north before landfall.

“Landfall along the U.S. Mid-Atlantic coast somewhere between North Carolina and New Jersey between four or five days is appearing more and more likely,” the National Hurricane Center said.

The last major storm that caused significant flooding and forced evacuations of low-lying areas in Westport was the 1992 nor’easter that hit over a period from Dec. 10-13.

The deadliest hurricane to hit New England occurred on Sept. 21, 1938. More than 600 people died.

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Posted 09/14/03 at 11:21 PM  Permalink



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