Tag Archives: Hurricane Isaias

[OPINION] A Bit Of Perspective

As we all deal with the continuing impact of Isaias — and try not to believe the guy in line at Starbucks who heard on 1010 WINS that power restoration could take “2 weeks” — here are some thoughts from “06880” reader Jeff Seaver:

I used our bathroom tonight, and was reminded of gratitude: We have clean, running water.

We have plenty of food and drinkable water.

Many in town actually have power in homes and offices, thanks to generators.

We don’t have flooded roads, or people trying to get about in canoes, kayaks or wading through chest deep water.

On top of all that, I can see the night sky in the dim light (there’s no town ambient lighting – the skies are remarkable).

I’ll try to keep that attitude alive all day tomorrow, rather than turn into a cranky puss which is what I did by the end of today.

This is certainly a disruption, a major inconvenience at best. But it does not compare with the communities – I’m thinking of the southeastern US in particular — that have been wiped out, have no power, flooded roads, tornado damage and no prospect of immediate relief.

And we are also nowhere near to what’s going on in Beirut today, either.

Things are tough in town. But look at what we’ve got … (Photo/Miggs Burroughs)

Are We Having Fun Yet?

On Tuesday afternoon I said this would be a long one.

I may have been low-balling things.

As of 7 p.m. last night, Eversource was still “evaluating outages.” There’s a lot to evaluate, I’m sure. But more than 24 hours after what’s been called the 4th worst storm ever to hit the state, Westporters wonder whether power restoration will take days — or weeks.

It’s not as if Eversource has not prepared for storms. Despite what an “06880” commenter said yesterday, they have a robust preventive tree-trimming program. We’ve all seen the trucks on the roads this summer.

The lack of trucks now is getting people testy. So is the heat. And the search for WiFi and food.

We’re creatures of habit. We crave certainty. Between COVID-19 and Hurricane Isaias, we’re swamped by uncertainty, 24/7.

We would not like to click on Eversource’s outage map and see “Estimated repairs completed by Tuesday, August 11.”

But seeing “evaluating outages” is megawatts worse.

(PS: I’d love to post a photo of a utility crew at work. If you’ve got one, send it along!)


So if this is Connecticut’s “4th worst storm ever,” what were the 3 worse ones?

Probably Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, followed by the “Snotober” Halloween snowstorm in  2011, and Hurricane Gloria in 1985.

Don’t forget the 1955 hurricane, or 1938.

Where does this one rank on your list? Click “Comments” below.

This scene of Superstorm Sandy’s fury is from North Compo Road.


“06880” reader and longtime friend Terry Brannigan writes:

Lots of folks are bumping around in the dark, or looking for generators. Yet many Westporters have SUVs, minivans, Jeeps and other cars with AC adaptors.

You can run a cord from them into the house, and plug in plenty of lamps. W had 6 Tuesday night, no problem.

The longer the cord, the more you will lose amperage. Shorter is better, but be careful to park outside — not in a garage. You don’t want fumes!

The car is quiet, has low emissions and will idle for a couple of weeks on s full tank of gas. Those generators your neighbors have are loud, smelly and thirsty!

PS: Your car AC adaptor won’t power your refrigerator. But you will have light, music and the ability to charge batteries.


Plenty of Westporters have discovered the library’s Wifi. The building is closed, but coverage extends into Jesup Green and the Levitt Pavilion parking lot.

Some of those seeking service have (not surprisingly) forgotten that in addition to the power outage, we’re in the midst of a pandemic. With so many people trying to access the internet, it’s hard to stay socially distant.

So, a gentle reminder: Log on, and mask up!

A peaceful, post-Isaias scene on Jesup Green. Crowds are tighter closer to the building.  (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

 


I mentioned yesterday that Don Meno — Bill Taibe’s new restaurant replacing Jesup Green — is open for dinner. So is Walrus Alley next door (the former Rothbard + Larder).

And don’t forget Jeera Thai, the fantastic spot across the street from Design Within Reach. We’re lucky to have it in town — and luckier still that it’s one of the few restaurants with power.


I’m not sure if Balducci’s is still open. But yesterday they got kudos for serving customers (with non-perishables, of course), despite no power.

Starbuck’s is open downtown. Their Wifi and cell service are down though, so it’s cash only. And if you need an ATM, because who carries money these days? Good luck with that.

Stew Leonard’s is open too. In the hours after the storm, they went through an astonishing 20 pallets of ice. They’ll keep getting deliveries of essentials, and keep selling ’em.’


And finally … who would have thought last year that 2019 would be “the good old days”?!

Pics Of The Day #1206

Jesup Green was the place to be today, post-Isaias …

… or the library steps …

… for internet access, hanging out, or even a ukulele concert (Photos/Miggs Burroughs)

Tornado? Waterspout? Scott Pecoriello Was There.

From a young age, Scott Pecoriello has been fascinated by weather.

At Staples, the Class of 2015 member was the school’s go-to meteorologist. Students, teachers and (especially) coaches relied on his spot-on forecasts.

When the tornado warning was issued for Connecticut’s coast yesterday, Scott headed to Compo Beach. At 1:40, he saw “a possible waterspout/tornado” come ashore.

He sent the photo (below) and video to the National Weather Service. They’re reviewing it, to confirm.

(Photo/Scott Pecoriello)

Scott says, “there have been no confirmed records of a tornado to ever pass through Westport since records began in the early 1900s. Connecticut averages about 1.3 tornadoes per year, and is ranked 43rd out of 50 for states with the most tornadoes.”

He notes, “The unusually high damage in Westport compared to surrounding towns — particularly at the coastline near Saugatuck Shores — could be in part due to this waterspout.”

Marpe: The Latest On Connecticut’s 4th Worst Storm Ever

1st Selectman Jim Marpe and the Westport Emergency Management Team provide the following update. It is also available on WWPT-FM (90.3), which frequently provides information in emergencies.

Eversource considers this storm to be the 4th largest ever experienced in Connecticut, and Governor Lamont has declared a State of Emergency. [“0688o”‘s side comment: We don’t want to even think about the other 3.]

It was a “wind event,” with sustained winds of 54 mph and gusts of 63 miles per hour. Fortunately, the flooding risk never materialized as rainfall was measured at ½ inch. The Emergency Management Team anticipates that the storm and its aftermath will require multiple days of clean up and restoration in all areas of town.

Statewide, 617,000 customers are without power, with 12,226 Eversource customers (97%) without power in Westport. The significant damage and high percentage of those without power and other utility services indicates that Westport may have been the hardest hit municipality in the state.

Residents are advised to remain safe at home to allow for an expedient and safe clean up. Many homes sustained significant damage. A large number of roads remain closed and impassable due to uprooted trees, large limbs, debris and downed wires. Department of Public Works crews will not touch, move or remove downed trees until the utility companies address downed wires first.

Eversource crews are assessing and evaluating the safest way to manage the many downed wires and then work cooperatively to restore power safely to neighborhoods throughout town. All of Westport has been impacted by this event, with varying degrees of damage and need for immediate attention and prioritization. Unfortunately, this means that it may be days until full power is restored.

Damage on Saugatuck Shores. Isaias was the real deal. (Photo courtesy of News12)

For your safety and the safety of work crews who are trying to clear the roads and restore power:

  • Do not go sightseeing! Roads must be kept clear for emergency vehicles.
  • Do not drive over or go near downed wires.
  • Do not drive or walk around yellow barrier tape or barricades.
  • Stay well clear of downed power lines: 25’ at least!
  • Be vigilant about downed trees and tree limbs hung up overhead

If you must drive, use caution, expect delays and detours, and be considerate of other drivers and emergency crews. DO NOT drive around tape or barricades – they have been erected for your safety. Without working traffic signals, intersections must be approached as if a STOP sign was there.  Make a full stop at all intersections and treat this as a four way STOP.

Please be aware of possible carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators.

  • All generators (portable and installed) should be used in well ventilated locations outside and at least 10-15 feet away from all doors, windows, and vent openings.
  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.

Town facilities, including the beaches, Longshore, Recreation programs, the Westport Library, the Senior Center and Wakeman fields remain closed today. All Senior Center virtual programs are cancelled for the remainder of the week.  The Board of Finance meeting scheduled for tonight is cancelled.

The Department of Human Services reminds residents to please check on your friends and neighbors. This weather emergency, combined with COVID-19 concerns, is stressful and may have a profound effect on our most vulnerable citizens.  We are a resilient, caring community that looks out for one another.

If you know of a neighbor who is elderly or particularly vulnerable, please reach out to him or her and offer assistance from a safe distance. DHS staff is available weekdays from 8:30 am-4:30 pm at 203-341-1050 to provide information and resources, although it’s most important to rely on your natural supports at this time. Please practice patience and consideration as we are all doing the best we can under the circumstances.

After 4:30 p.m., residents can call the CT information hotline by dialing 211 or go to www.211ct.org for mobile crisis support.

Only call 911 for true medical emergencies.

Due to COVID-19, Westport’s cooling centers, charging stations, and shelters are currently not available, so it is essential to make specific plans to address your needs.

We will continue to provide updates to residents as soon as they are available. Please recognize that there are many who are working as quickly as possible to effectively and efficiently clear the roadways and restore power. Most of us are without power, so we are in this together. You are not alone.

And please remember, we are still fighting the COVID-19 virus so practice social distancing and use face coverings if you choose to leave your home. Please help protect our community as we work together to get through the pandemic and this latest weather crisis. Remember, you are safe at home; not stuck at home. We appreciate your anticipated patience and cooperation.

** Sign up for Emergency Notifications by registering at www.nixle.com, or text 06880 to 888777 from your mobile phone**

What’s Open? Find Out!

Jillian Elder left town Monday. But her “Finding Westport” site (click on the link) could be a lifesaver for this and area town. She hopes to update its with listings of businesses that are open (or closed).

If your business is fully open, open but can take online orders, open with no phone or internet, or is closed for today and tomorrow, let her know via Facebook or Instagram (@findingwestport) or email: submissions@findingwestport.com.

You can also post info on what’s open in the Comments section. As noted earlier, downtown in the Main Street area (including Starbucks and Freshii) is open! (As of this morning though, Starbucks had no WiFi.)

Cross Highway/North Avenue intersection is now open. (Photo/Dr. Edward Paul)

Jumbled kayaks, in the wake of Hurricane Isaias. (Photo/Brian Gold)

The Morning After

This is going to be a tough one.

Eversource is still “evaluating damage,” with few indications of when power will be restored. We are now up to nearly 97% of the town without power.

Cell service is out around town. The usual options for shelter (and power-charging) — the Senior Center and Library — are closed. (The library may open tomorrow. And part of downtown — including Starbucks — has power.)

And of course, we have COVID to consider.

We’re in this for the long haul. 

Look out for each other. Play nice. Share. Don’t snap at people. 

And if you’ve got tips — about WiFi hotspots, what’s open, how to cope, whatever — click “Comments.”

(NOTE: “06880” is in the same boat. I’ll post when I can. But my ability to respond to emails and do all my usual “stuff” is limited. I’ll try my best, along with everyone else.)

Grove Point Road is just one example off Isaias’ devastation. (Photo/John Kantor)

Below is 1st Selectman Jim Marpe’s message from last night:

I would like to brief you on today’s severe weather that has greatly impacted the Town of Westport.

As a result of today’s storm, 60 roads are closed and most traffic lights in town are not operating. We strongly advise you to stay off the roads. There is a high probability that there are live wires on the ground that may be difficult to see this evening. Always assume that any wire you see on the ground is live.

We believe that Westport may have been the hardest hit community in the state. Our beaches are closed, and the golf course at Longshore Park has been severely damaged and will most likely be closed tomorrow. As of right now, 94% of Westport’s Eversource customers are without power. Now that the winds have died down, Eversource crews will begin to start restoring power, but it may be days until your power is restored. Similarly, many businesses are without power and may be closed as well.

Please stay home and keep the road clear for our emergency responder and the power restoration crews.

In addition, hundreds of tree limbs remain hung up in wires and trees and present a risk to anyone who is walking or driving underneath them. When you encounter yellow emergency barrier tape, please don’t drive or walk through. They are set up to protect you.

In closing, most of us are without power, so we are in this together. You are not alone. Our emergency personnel are out in town and responding to emergencies. If you have an emergency, do not hesitate to call 911.

Look for our next update mid-day tomorrow.

And please remember, we are still fighting the COVID-19 virus so practice, social distancing and using face coverings more than ever. Please help protect our community as we work together to get through the pandemic and this latest weather crisis. Remember, you are safe at home; not stuck at home.

This is Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe.

Instructions:

Please stay away from any downed power lines and call emergency services for any unsafe situations.

For full details, view this message on the web.

Pics Of The Day #1205 (Isaias Edition)

Richmondville Avenue (Photo/Arlene Yolles)

Saugatuck Avenue #1 …

… Saugatuck Avenue #2 …

… and Saugatuck Avenue #3 (Photos/Scott Singer)

Hales Road (Patricia McMahon)

One view of Prospect and Hillandale …

… and another (Photos/Samuel Wang)

Grove Point Road, where …

… everyone beyond #17 is stuck (Photos/John Kantor)

Meanwhile, at Compo Beach … (Photo/Jay Walshon)

And — with the power out — some emergency supplies (Photo/Matt Murray)

NOTE: The Westport Library will be closed tomorrow.

Storm Damage On Sterling Lane

A harrowing scene on Sterling Drive. (Photo/Rick Benson)

Storm Moves Away — But 92% Of Town Without Power

The rain appears to be over. Winds are abating, though still substantial. Most of the remnants of Hurricane/Tropical Storm/pain in the butt Isaias should be gone later tonight.

Now the cleanup begins.

And the power restoration.

It won’t be easy. At 4:45 p.m., Eversource reported that 11,723 customers lacked power — out of 12,632 in town. That’s 92.8%.

The good news: It was a tropical storm in August. Not a blizzard in January.

An enormous tree fell on Post Road West, near the Norwalk border. (Photo/Dr. Edward Paul)

Treadwell Avenue (Photo/Curtis Lueker)

Burritts Landing North (Photo/Lisa Gold)

NOTE: “06880” — meaning my house — is part of that 92.8% without power. Please be patient. I cannot post stories, or answer emails, tonight. Check back tomorrow …