The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
Official: ‘We may have gotten a little lucky in the area again’
towns report minor flooding.
While Connecticut Shoreline towns were fully prepared for whatever the remnants of Hurricane Ida would bring to the area, officials report downed trees and electrical wires, and minimal flooding Thursday as they set out to assess the damage.
In Guilford, water was the largest concern. “If you’ve got a small stream running, or even areas that aren’t a stream, but become a stream, there was so much water, it was moving dirt and sand and rocks,” Police Chief Butch Hyatt said. “It came so fast.”
Hyatt said his department had been monitoring the storm all week. “We ended up not opening the [emergency operations center.] We were looking at the rain, the tide chart, how much wind. The wind predictions went down, down, down.”
“We know that with a lot of rain and a little bit of wind, we do get trees and branches down, but nothing like if we have 80- or 90-mile-an-hour winds,” he added.
“We did have, throughout the night, maybe a dozen, 15 areas, where branches or trees have come down,” Hyatt said. “Some in the road, some have engaged some of the wires.”
Guilford First Selectman Matt Hoey noticed generators humming on his morning bike ride, but those were isolated outages. “Lot of debris on our roads,” he said. “Our crews are out, and it’s all over town. It’s not isolated in any one area.”
“Be careful if you see downed wires,” Hoey advised. “If you see obstructions in the road, and they’re not too heavy ... move them out of the way to make it safe for travel.”
In Madison, First Selectwoman Peggy Lyons said some areas were still flooded Thursday morning — most of them in places where flooding is common during heavy rains. Public works has been out since early morning to clear drains and block off roads, including Island Avenue, Middle Beach and Tuxis Road, she said.
“We had some flooding on the Surf Club that we are hoping is receding now that high tide is past,” Lyons said. “There are some other areas where we don’t see a lot of flooding that we did have on Copse Road.”
About 590 Madison residences — 6.38 percent — were without power as of 11 a.m., Eversource reported.
Madison Police Capt. Joseph Race said there was flooding south of Route 1, which caused some partial road closures.
“If you see flooded roads, don’t drive through them,” Race urges people. “You never really know how deep it is, and your engine will stall out if it pulls in water, so, if you see it, turn around. We try to put up barricades, but, unfortunately, people move them.”
Lyons said the storm brought results both predictable and unpredictable.
“I think this is more, actually, than what we had from the potential hurricane from two weeks ago,” she said. “The amount of rainfall that we got is significantly more than what we had during that storm, and the wind levels were quite high in the middle of the night. So, we probably had a little more damage from that. I think the power outage level is higher as well.”
Despite some problem areas, overall, Lyons and Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna said, the municipalities weathered the storm well.
Ida did not cause much damage in Old Saybrook, Fortuna said, adding that the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center “had a little bit of water in it.
“The patio, where the tent is, apparently, the water backed up a little bit on it, and went in the building,” he said. “We’re probably going to call Servpro (a fire and water cleanup and restoration service) this morning. We’re getting that handled and getting the insurance companies involved.”
“It seems like we may have gotten a little lucky in the area again,” he said.
Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold said the town fared very well for the most part. He noted the Lyme-Old Lyme School system initially called a two-hour delay, but then officials opted to close for the entire day.
“That decision was related to water and tree limbs (on the roads),” he said.
Griswold said the underpass for the railroad bridge at Cross Lane was flooded and impassable, and a portion of Mile Creek Road was also “a little dicey” in the morning. He said there was some flooding in low-lying areas in parts of town near the beach.
“I was down by Sound View, and its passable, but they caution you not to drive through standing water if you can’t see the road,” he said. “Apart from some chronic areas that are flooded, we’re doing pretty well.”
The town as a whole is not in bad shape, Griswold said, adding the storm seemed to be comparable to Tropical Storm Henri.
In Branford, “The most significant flooding is on School Ground Road near Research Drive to Tipping Driver, the north side of the Branford River Bridge” in the River Run Business Park, according to Fire Chief Tom Mahoney.
“It’s pretty significantly flooded there,” he said.
“It was shallow flooding, but it was over a wide area — it could have been up to two feet in area — and it affected at least five buildings over there.”
There was flooding in low-lying and coastal areas, he said, noting that there were no evacuations and no injuries reported. There were only had minor issues, such as a car getting stuck after driving through a flooded underpass, and trees hitting electrical wires “that created a smoke condition in several houses on Wellsweep (Road),” he said.
According to Eversource, 536 — 18.6 percent — of customers were without power in Killingworth just before noon. First Selectwoman Catherine Iino said the outages were likely the result of a large tree that had fallen on power lines in the area of Green Hill, but no other significant damage had been reported in town.
In Westbrook, First Selectman Noel Bishop said the town had avoided problems even in areas typically prone to flooding. Around 140 reported outages in the town Thursday morning were also due to downed trees, he said.