Hurricane Sandy blew through Connecticut faster than forecasters predicted yesterday but with much greater force than anyone expected.
At 9:00 p.m. Monday, Governor Dannel Malloy upgraded the storm assessment from a Category 3 Flooding Event to a Category 4, the highest possible warning. New London was one of the hardest hit areas in the county.
"The wind was unbelievable," said Sean Houser, who lives near the beach in New London. "It shook my house so bad and started bending trees over in the yard. I took my clothes and ran. I got turned around a bunch of times. All of Pequot Avenue was flooded, trees were down, power lines were down, a lot of roads were unpassable. The sea water actually came over the walls. There were fish in the front of my car! It was scary."
Houser said the storm ripped the roof off his neighbor's house. It also tore the roof off the Quality Inn in Mystic. Houser said he had to drive through a few backyards to get onto roads that were driveable but he made it to the Regional Shelter in East Lyme safe and sound. He had plenty of company.
Shelter from the Storm
The Red Cross Regional Emergency Shelter opened on Sunday at East Lyme Middle School to serve the towns of East Lyme, Old Lyme, Lyme, Waterford, Montville, and New London. The shelter's population swelled unexpectedly when New London's shelter closed down because there was some question as to how well the generators were working.
Dawn Davis, East Lyme shelter director, said 232 people spent last night at the shelter, including 60 people who were brought by bus from New London. The shelter's animal population increased also. The pet-friendly shelter gave save harbor to 14 dogs, one cat, and a hamster.
Davis said that as power outages continue, the shelter is expecting to see more people coming in today and throughout the week.
"It could be that we wind up with a whole other wave of people again," Davis said.
The shelter is well-organized, however, and well-prepared to handle additional residents. "We have another 470 cots in the gymnasium," Davis said. "We have been so well-supported between people coming in and helping, shelter residents are volunteering, we have lots of donations, and the food's been really good. We have a kitchen staff that's really top notch."
Paul Winfrey of Montville, who came to the shelter when it first opened, seconds that. "The staff is excellent, friendly, the food is great. It's like being at a motel without paying the bill!"
Winfrey, who was getting ready for a breakfast of fruit, waffles and pancakes, granola bars, and coffee, said he is planning to stay at the shelter for the next few days and many residents are being advised to remain at the shelter at least until this afternoon. Many people will be going home to no power at this point.
A lot of people are now coming into the shelter to use the showers. With 200 people at the shelter on the shower sign-up sheet, however, there's a long wait. Emergency management in East Lyme has now opened East Lyme High School for community members to use the showers.
Please be advised that the Emergency Operations Center number for East Lyme was not working at 8 a.m. but people can call (860) 739-3410.
As of 7:45 a.m., Connecticut Light & Power was reporting the following:
East Lyme: 96 percent of the town is without power but there is power on Flanders Road from Flanders Four Corners to Society Road, so if you're looking for gas or coffee, lights are on at Starbucks and McDonalds, and Stop & Shop has lights on too.
Old Lyme: 85 percent of the town is without power.
Lyme: 94 percent of the town is without power.
Salem: 100 percent outage
Waterford: 77 percent
Montville: 84 percent
New London: 44 percent
The streets of New London are closed until 1 p.m. to all but emergency vehicles. Waterford is also advising people to stay off the roads until 1 p.m. and people from both towns who are staying at the shelter are being advised not to leave until this afternoon.
In East Lyme, the Niantic Bridge closed last night at about 9:30 p.m. but reopened today at about 6 a.m. allowing traffic to pass along Route 156. In Niantic, Main Street and Pine Grove both flooded and a tree fell across Attawan Road cutting off access to Black Point.
The tree blocking Attawan has since been removed. Pine Grove Road is open to traffic (one lane only) and work crews are on the scene. Everyone is warned to stay away from the beaches. East Lyme Emergency Operations Center is reporting that Atlantic Street by Crescent Beach is "falling apart" and is not safe. People are advised to find alternate routes.
In many areas, roads remain impassable with debris on the road, felled trees, downed power lines and flood water. However, Gov. Dannel Malloy, who had ordered a truck ban, followed by the closure of the state’s limited access highways to non-emergency vehicles on Monday, has now lifted the statewide travel ban.
“Use your heads when it comes to driving. If a road appears impassable because of water, downed wires, fallen trees or other debris, do not attempt to drive through it,” Governor Malloy said.
News from Old Lyme
At 10 p.m. last night, Old Lyme Emergency Operations Center sent out the following press release:
"Old Lyme has sustained numerous incidents of structural damage from falling trees and power lines. Eighty-four per cent of homes are currently without power. There are numerous road blockages caused by downed trees and/or power lines. See the list below for specific road blockages. Please recognize that this is preliminary assessment only. The OL EOC will issue updates as available.
Tidal water submerged seaside roads, including Hartford and Swan Avenues up to Bocce Lane, West End Avenue up to the tennis courts and the lower end of Ferry Road at the DEP. At high tide, McCurdy Road was inundated at the Duck River Bridge and Mile Creek Road was inundated at the Black Hall River Bridge.
There have been no reported deaths.
List of Road Blockages
Rogers Lake Trail
Saunders Hollow Road
Boston Post Road – numerous locations Sill Lane
Flat Rock Hill Road Mile Creek Road McCurdy Road Buttonball Road Brown’s Lane
Remember, please report your power outage to CL&P: Call 800-286-2000 Online: WWW.CL-P.COM; Click on Storm Center on the left hand menu. Click on Report an Outage.