Category Archives: Weather

Pics Of The Day: Special Rain Clouds & Rainbow Edition

For the 2nd straight day, rain clouds gathered over Westport this afternoon …

(Photo/Stephanie Mastocciolo)

(Photo/Matt Murray)

(Photo/Katherine Ross)

… and then the rains came …

(Photo/Ellen Wentworth)

followed by (of course) a (double) rainbow!

(Photo/Seth Goltzer)

(Photo/Chris Tait)

(Photo/Janine Scotti)

(Photo/Jeanine Esposito)

Even I-95 looks great! (Photo/Seth Goltzer)

Stormy Weather

It’s been a while since we saw the heavy rains and heard the thunder we got this weekend.

Late this afternoon, storm clouds rolled in …

(Photo/Sophie Pollmann)

(Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

… and after the much-needed downpour, the skies cleared. Then we saw this.

Schlaet’s Point (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Staples High School. (Photo/Jennifer Kobetitsch)

Pics Of The Day #1145

It was quite a day in Westport. It ended like this …

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

… following an afternoon like this:

(Photo/JC Martin)

(Photo/JC Martin)

(Photo/JC Martin)

(Photo/JC Martin)

(Photo/JC Martin)

Police Chief Foti Koskinas …

… and a very different view (Photo/Lauri Weiser)

Friday Flashback #195

In the first weekend of June 1982 — during a full moon — up to 8 inches of rain pounded the area. Across the state, rivers and lakes flooded. Dams broke; 38,000 customers lost power. Seven people died. More than 1,300 others were evacuated from their homes.

It was the worst flooding here since 1955.

Downtown — where water runs underneath the Post Road, from Sconset Square to near Bay Street — a drama unfolded.

According to the New York Times: 

Christa Lawrence, 13, of Westport, tried to cross a narrow, rushing stream called Dead Man’s Creek and was swept downstream and into a low, 150-foot-long underground tunnel.

Deadman Brook at Sconset Square, near where Christa Lawrence was swept away…

”I thought I was going to die any second,” she said. ”The current was pulling me under, and I lost track of up or down. I couldn’t breathe. Every time I tried to go up for air, I hit my head on the top of the tunnel.”

One of her friends, Steve Treadway, 14, ran to the opposite end of the tunnel and, holding onto a tree with one hand, grabbed her as she swept out and pulled her to safety. Covered with sand and dirt, she was taken to Norwalk Hospital and treated for shock, cuts and bruises.

”Now I know why it’s called Dead Man’s Creek,” Miss Lawrence said.

… and the area near Bay Street, behind 180 Post Road East, where she was pulled out.

I remember that well. It was a scary weekend, and Christa nearly did not make it.

But I have two questions: Isn’t it a brook — not a creek?

And isn’t it “Deadman” — named for the Deadman family — and not “Dead Man’s”?!

(Hat tip: Elaine Marino)

Pics Of The Day #1120

The weather was all over the place today: rain, sun, cold, warm. Jennifer Kobetitsch captured these clouds over Staples High School, just a couple of hours apart.

Hey, at least it didn’t snow!

(Photos/Jennifer Kobetitsch)

COVID Roundup: NY Times Real Estate; Food Pantry; More

At last: a New York Times mention of Westport that does not involve a super-spreading party or surveillance drones.

Tomorrow’s Real Estate section includes a long feature on New Yorkers who — often to their own surprise — are leaving the crowded, now locked-down city for the suburbs (with, they hope, more space and less exposure to the coronavirus).

The story noted that in March and April Westport had 63 new rentals, up from 36 in the same period last year. A photo of the Saugatuck River and National Hall illustrated the piece.

The article mentioned other Fairfield County towns, including “leafy” Wilton and Weston, where the “sluggish” market “may get a boost.” With 2-acre zoning, there is “plenty of rooms between properties, which germ-conscious buyers may appreciate.”

To read the full story, click here.

The Times story included this view of Weston’s Lyons Plains Road (Photo/Jane Beilis for the New York Times)

Staples High School graduate Marc Bailin sends along this photo from Vermont, where he now has a home. It was taken this morning — yes, May 9:

Which brings up this question: If it had snowed like that here, just a couple of hours south — and it was yesterday, instead of today — would Westport schools have had a snow day?

One more Virtual Bingo report: Thursday’s game raised a record $390. As always, winners choose an organization to receive the pot. Maury and Aliza Wind picked Homes With Hope. To get in the game yourself (all are welcome!), email

In other Homes With Hope news, another food pantry collection is set for this Monday (May 11, 2 to 4 p.m.). Non-perishable goods can be brought to the Gillespie Center, behind Restoration Hardware. Stay in your car; pop your trunk; someone will take your donation.

And finally … in 1985, The Alarm requested “hope” and “strength.” They were way ahead of their time.

Pics Of The Day #1088

This weeping cherry tree on Park Lane was planted around 1959. (Photo/Elisabeth Keane)

Etienne Franca says, “I’m new to Maple Avenue, and love the Westport colors. There is so much beauty (inside and out), despite these challenging times.” (Photo/Etienne Franca)

Pic Of The Day #1048

Signs of the times, at CVS: The bad news …

… and the good:

(Photos/Mark Mathias)

Pic Of The Day #1030

Compo Beach entrance, after today’s rain (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Floodplain Manager Saves Property — And $$$

Town employees do many things to make Westport work. They plow roads, put out fires and protect the public, to name only a few.

But they do plenty of other things no one ever sees. Like planning for floods — and then making sure residents in those areas get reductions in flood insurance.

That’s not something every town does. Only 6 other municipalities — of the 169 in Connecticut — get that break. It saves the average policyholder here $190 a year.

For that, we can thank Michelle Perillie. She’s in her 21st year with the Planning & Zoning Department. Last month she became a Certified Floodplain Manager.

Michelle Perillie

It’s not just a title. The training was rigorous; testing was tough. Perillie did it to add to her value as a town planner — and to help the many Westporters who live in flood-prone neighborhoods.

As floodplain manager, she helps manage flood resources, and mitigate flooding. She enforces the town’s flood damage prevention policies; updates flood maps, plans and policies, and administers the National Flood Insurance Program.

She offers information and resources to property owners in the 100-year floodplain. She hopes to initiate a Flood Awareness Week in Westport, and make presentations at local schools.

Perillie checks new construction, and issues elevation certificates.

She also inspects flood-prone properties. Approximately 70 homes in Westport have been raised. She makes sure that the lower levels have not been converted to living space.

It’s her work with the Community Rating (flood) System that saves Westport taxpayers all that money. Her goal is for Westport to move one tier up. That will save policyholders an additional $93 annually.

Only a handful of Connecticut towns are part of the Community Rating  System. It’s time-consuming — but clearly worthwhile.

So how prepared is Westport for big floods?

September 2018: South Morningside Drive. (Photo/Dylan Honig)

“Storms are becoming more frequent, and stronger,” the floodplain manager notes. “People have to be ready. But when a year or two passes without a major one, storms and flooding are no longer at the top of their minds.”

Many homeowners think, “I didn’t flood in the last storm. So I won’t flood unless it’s a 100-year storm.”

Yet, Perrillie explains, a 100-year storm is not one that happens once a century. It’s simply a storm with a 1% chance of happening in any given year.

Superstorm Sandy devastated Westport in 2012. And that did not meet the definition of a “100-year storm.”

Superstrom Sandy struck in October of 2012. (Photo/Mary Hoffman)

More generally, she says, the town must prepare for sea-level rise. That means making existing facilities “resilient,” as well as monitoring new construction.

State officials know what’s ahead. They’re planning for sea levels to rise up to 20 inches, by 2050.

That seems far in the future. But it’s only 30 years from now.

There’s no telling how many 100-year floods we’ll have by then.

At least Michelle Perillie can help us prepare.