Communities feel storm's impact
By Lauri Voter - Staff Writer
Region - posted Thu., Nov. 1, 2012
With the memory of last year's October winter storm virtually fresh in everyone's mind, this year officials in local communities took a vigilant stance against the recent storm that powered its way into the northeast region on Monday, Oct. 29. While hurricane Sandy's impact was most devastating at the Connecticut shoreline, some local communities were also affected.
In anticipation of the storm's impact, Ashford town officials opened their Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Monday, Oct. 29, at 7 a.m. at the town hall. As part of its emergency management process, the town maintains a list of residents to check on in case of storms and other emergencies. Ashford School and Regional 19 were closed Oct. 29 and 30. By 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29, 13 Connecticut Light and Power (CL & P) customers in Ashford had already lost power. By noon on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at least 94 percent of Ashford's CL&P customers were without power, although by Oct. 31, CL&P began making a dent in that number, bringing the percentage down to 65 percent.
Several days before the storm hit, the town of Stafford announced to its residents via public notices that town officials opened its EOC to monitor the storm as early as Wednesday, Oct. 24. On Oct. 25, officials opened the valve on the Staffordville dam to lower the level of Staffordville Lake. Residents were urged to remove their boats from the water before Monday, Oct. 29. A parking ban was issued from Oct. 28 until Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. Beginning Tuesday, Oct. 30, public updates were made available to residents at Mill Pond Store, Stafford Food Center and the Stafford Big Y.
As of noon on Oct. 30, 22 percent of Stafford's CL & P customers were out of power; by Oct. 31, that percentage had decreased to 16 percent. However, power restoration from CL&P appeared stalled by noon on Oct. 31, when Stafford First Selectman Richard Shuck expressed concern over lack of response from CL&P. “The communications are unproductive,” he said. A public briefing was scheduled for Oct. 31, at 6 p.m., at the Big Y plaza for residents without power, “to address questions and concerns,” said Shuck. In spite of the power outages, Shuck said that the town never had to open a shelter.
Volunteers from the Union Volunteer Fire Department began manning the town's firehouse at 6 a.m., on Monday, Oct. 29, according to Union First Selectman Albert L. “Andy” Goodhall, Jr. The town's EOC, which was located at Town Hall, opened at 8 a.m. Like Ashford, the town of Union maintains a list of elderly and handicapped residents, who Goodhall said, “were called to inventory who is in town, who has generators and if they have run them.” Before noon on Oct. 29, Bradway Road was reportedly out of power. By noon on Oct. 30, 44 percent of CL&P customers in Union were without power. By noon on Oct. 31, that number decreased to 25 percent, however Goodhall reported that Carion and Bush roads, as well as Mashapaug Road, were still out of power. “I'm trying to get a truck back to Union,” said Goodhall, who estimated that with one truck and about four hours, Union's power would be fully restored. “They won't send a truck,” said Goodhall.
As of 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31, the town of Willington reported that 38 percent of CL&P customers were still without power, down from at least 80 percent, as reported by CL&P at noon on Tuesday, Oct. 30. Schools were still closed. Officials announced that Willington's EOC lost power on Monday evening, Oct. 29.
As of Oct. 31, town officials issued a public notice, stating, “Hall School was opened as a storm resource center yesterday and many people showed up to take showers, charge cell phones, check the Internet and get restoration information.”
CL&P makes updates about its power restoration progress available to the public via its power outage map at http://outage.cl-p.com/outage/outagemap.aspx.