Memories of Hurricane Irene and last year's nor'easter -- and the damage each storm brought -- are too fresh for Stratford's shoreline residents to take any chances on Hurricane Sandy.
On Sunday morning, a group of residents, predominantly from the Lordship area, were making sandbags at the town's Department of Public Works yard at 550 Patterson Ave. The work was tough, but spirits were relatively high considering the forecast that Sandy, which is barreling toward New England and is expected to make landfall early tomorrow morning, could be one of the worst storms to hit Stratford in nearly 100 years.
Patty Massey, the owner of Knapp's Landing in Lordship, who lives on nearby Bayview Boulevard, was loading up sandbags, with the help of her sister, Tomiko Knapp. In addition to positioning the sandbags to block what is expected to be a substantial water surge with high tide, Massey said they will be boarding up the windows of the beachside business. They'll remain open as long as they have power, she said.
As she spoke, a group of other shoreline residents were busy filling up bags with sand. The town offered up two truck loads to residents.
"This is great," Massey said. "But we thought the bags would be filled!"
Peter Horvath laughed, in between shovels, as his daughter, Erika, 14, helped out. The Horvaths have lived in Lordship for about 12 years.
Like most residents, they were impacted by Irene and the snowstorm in October that left hundreds of thousands of residents without power across the state -- some for more than a week.
What Sandy brings remains to be seen.
A DPW worker said there are two sand piles at the yard—one in the front and another in the back—that are available to residents to make sandbags. It's first-come, first-serve, and the piles are going quickly, he said.