Laurie Quick said neighbors told her Monday that their road just off Mona Terrace hadn't flooded since 1955. But when the town expanded the mandatory evacuation area -- in advance of the Hurricane Sandy onslaught -- to include roads south of Oldfield and the Old Post roads, her decision to head over to the town's emergency shelter became easier.
Quick and her son, Bradley, 11, and daughter Kelsie, 9, packed clothes, snacks, drinks, a soccer ball and bedding, and headed over to the shelter at Fairfield Ludlowe High School around 10 p.m. Sunday. There, they found quite a few of the children's Sherman School classmates.
"The moms and kids all came," Quick said. "The husbands stayed home." She said she hopes her husband would be heading over to the shelter soon. "I kind of miss him already," she said.
Bradley said he felt safe at the shelter, though both he and his mother said neither one got a lot of sleep Sunday night. "There were people yelling and snoring," Bradley said. "I only got four hours of sleep." He said he thought those seeking refuge would be sleeping in dormitories, not on cots.
"It is reassuring to see the police here," Quick said, but there is still anxiety over the predicted onslaught. "We don't know what's going to happen to our house."
Officials said by 1 p.m. Monday, about 100 people had moved into Fairfield's shelter, and they expected that number could rise as Hurricane Sandy continued to make her presence known.
Monday morning firefighters made a sweep through designated evacuation zones, looking to help any elderly or disabled people who might need help to get to higher ground.
By 11:30 a.m., water already made Fairfield Beach Road west of the 1500 block impassable, and Fire Chief Richard Felner said three residents there refused to leave, preferring to ride out the storm at home. Officials warn, however, that when the storm gets worse, they may not be able to get emergency personnel through flooded areas.
Yellow caution tape was used to block off side streets heading to Fairfield Beach Road, but unless a police officer was stationed at an intersection to prevent access, some people ignored the tape, ducking under to head down to the beach and take photos.
Cars blocked the street heading into Sasco Beach in Southport and the story was the same at Southport Beach, with people curious to get a close up look at the storm.
Downtown Fairfield, however, was a ghost town, with nearly every business closed for the day.
First Selectman Michael Tetreau closed Sullivan-Independence Hall at 11 a.m., but said some employees volunteered to stay on and staff the call center. He urged people with questions to call 203-254-4889 and leave 911 for true emergencies. "They'll be there as long as they can to help residents out," he said.
Tetreau said he expected to be at the emergency operations center, located in the second-floor training room at police headquarters on Reef Road throughout the night. He said if there are major power outages, United Illuminating said it could take a week or more before everything is restored.
"We don't know yet what the damage will be from the flooding," Tetreau said.