I think it's fair to say that East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica spoke for all of us when, in yesterday morning's briefing from the Emergency Operations Center, he said, "It's been a hell of a week."
From the storm preparations and evacuations that began last weekend to Monday, when Hurricane Sandy made landfall, to the week that followed of no school, no power, and no access along roads that were blocked by trees, knee deep in water, and buried in sand, it's been a very long week.
East Lyme's infrastructure was hit hardest, with major power outages and roads that were closed. Crescent Beach homes and shoreline bore the brunt of the storm.
In Old Lyme, the beach communities were thrashed by Sandy. Hawks Nest Beach was particularly hard hit. Old Lyme Building Inspector Ron Rose said at 41 homes, both seasonal and yearround, on Old Lyme's shoreline were significantly damaged and four were "in really bad shape."
Lyme fared the best. First Selectman Ralph Eno said that Hurricane Sandy didn't do as much damage as Tropical Storm Irene and, despite power outages and a few closed roads, the town escaped relatively unscathed.
In East Lyme, Old Lyme, and Lyme it's been all hands on deck, with Emergency Operations Centers open 24/7 and every employee from town clerks to public works and emergency services working around the clock to try to clear roads and provide services for residents without power.
In Old Lyme, volunteers have been going door-to-door, checking on people in need and delivering water and information about emergency services, such as the respite center at Lymes' Senior Center. In East Lyme, the Red Cross established a regional emergency center serving surrounding towns.
CL&P linesmen, backed up by at least 2,000 workers from out of state, toiled around the clock to try to restore power but people were still without electricity for days.
Great progress has been made, however. As of 4 p.m. on Sunday, just one person in Lyme and 40 people in East Lyme remained without power. In Old Lyme, 13 percent of CL&P customers had no power but many of them were in the hard hit beach areas where most of the homes are seasonal.
For kids, it turned into a week without school but it also meant no Halloween for most too. Kids were asked not to trick or treat and the Lymes' Youth Services Bureau cancelled the Halloween parade that had been scheduled for October 31 down Lyme Street in Old Lyme.
The Lymes' Senior Center, which continues to serve as a respite center for residents without power, did have an impromptu Halloween party. The event was organized by one enterprising 11-year-old and it attracted a good number of kids as word spread via text, twitter, and Facebook.
By Sunday, things seemed to be returning to normal. School athletic teams were playing sports on East Lyme's athletic fields and most businesses were open, including restaurants that were packed with people eager to get out and have a hot meal and relax.
It's also back to politics as usual. All the polling stations will be operational on Tuesday in East Lyme, Old Lyme, and Lyme.