Outages Down Before Brunt of Winds

by Christopher O'Brien

As of 6 pm, only 2% of Wolcott residents were without power – a number much smaller than earlier today. CL&P has dedicated a crew to the town and that crew has been making repairs throughout the day. A significant number of residents on the west side of town were temporarily out this morning as CL&P intentionally shut down power so they could make a repair affecting residents on North Main St. in Waterbury.

If winds exceed 40 mph, CL&P will stop making repairs and residents should expect to be without power until at least Wednesday if that occurs.

At 6 pm, nine Connecticut towns were entirely dark, mostly in eastern Connecticut. It remains to be seen whether gusts in that area of the state are moving from east to west. That area also is less sparsely populated and customers are further apart than in Western Connecticut.

Mayor Dunn has been touring town and was seen at the Senior Center at 5:30 ready to thank emergency crews. The storm shelter has not been opened yet, but could be if more residents lose power. Overall, there are no major or unexpected problems to report around town.

Rainfall and high wind predictions haven’t changed much. Winds can still be expected to reach around 90 mph overnight and while we have received about half an inch of rain on Monday thus far, we may only get 2 inches total throughout the storm. The Governor reported some good news that an earlier landfall of the storm may reduce the storm surge predictions. Earlier, forecasters thought landfall would be synchronized with a full moon and the regular high tide just before midnight tonight. Yet, storm surge is still predicted to be the highest in Connecticut recorded history.

Utilities in Connecticut are planning on shutting down two power substations in Bridgeport because of fears that the storm surge will damage the equipment and result in worse restoration problems later this week. They are also considering similar action in Stamford and New Haven. Those cities are expected to experience severe flooding that will extend downtown. If you have friends or relatives that live within a mile or so from the coast, are in a flood plain, or are under 30 feet in elevation, they should strongly consider moving to a local shelter.

Storm surge is responsible for most of the deaths during Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast. Surge is caused because the extremely low pressure of the hurricane pulls the sea level upward. In Long Island Sound, it is being exacerbated with winds forcing water from the “open” end of the Sound in the east. Because the Sound narrows in the west, the surge becomes more concentrated, especially in towns that face towards the east like Milford and Fairfield. Strong winds can batter sand dunes and beach houses. Cozy Beach in East Haven lost dozens of homes last year due to this storm surge.

A surge can occur rapidly, and tonight is expected around 3 am. Storm surge’s rapid occurence, along with the sheer depth and violent waves can wreak havoc to structures and easily drown a person. Evacuating among strong winds in the dark after midnight is nearly impossible, so residents need to take shelter immediately.

Got an update or photo about the storm in your area? E-mail us! WolcottWhisper@gmail.com

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