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Towns, cities recovering from Tuesday’s storm, flooding

September 27, 2018

BRIDGEPORT — Towns and cities along the state’s coastline were in recovery-mode Wednesday after a storm and extensive flooding hit the region hard Tuesday.

Rain started to fall early Tuesday morning in Connecticut and continued to fall well into the evening. Flooding came in the late afternoon and caused problems along the coastline for hours, ranging from cars stranded on flooded streets to flooded homes.

The common denominator of Tuesday’s flooding seemed to be that areas that aren’t typically prone to flooding took on a lot of water.

In Bridgeport, low-lying sections of Park Avenue saw enough flooding to stall cars and strand motorists. In terms of rainfall, the Bridgeport Emergency Operations Center reported 6.7 inches in North End and 5.2 in the South End.

More than 7 inches of rain came down in Trumbull, which severely flooded Trumbull High School, forcing officials to close the school Wednesday and Thursday.

“Everything that happened was totally unprecedented,” Trumbull Police Capt. Keith Golding said. “The school was not expecting that flooding — having never had it like this before — so they weren’t ready for it.”

Golding said once flooding started to dissipate Tuesday, around 7:45 p.m., crews went to work at the school, which doesn’t normally see flooding.

“The amount of water that they took in was certainly not expected,” Golding said. “It got into the front offices, crept all the way down the hallways and into the auditorium.”

But it wasn’t just the school that saw flooding.

“Homeowners have a lot of damage and they’re going to be recovering for quite some time,”Golding said.

Near Trumbull Center, first responders had to break the glass to a dance studio to rescue people trapped inside by rising waters, unable to open the door.

Although there were only about half a dozen instances of people trapped in cars stuck on flooded roadways in Trumbull, Bridgeport agencies handled water rescues nonstop for hours.

Between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., Bridgeport emergency services responded to over 130 emergencies.

City spokeswoman Rowena White said residents of two homes in the Lakeside Drive area of Bridgeport’s North End chose to leave their homes Tuesday because of flooding. She said they were back in their homes Wednesday.

Bridgeport Public Schools operated on a two-hour delay Wednesday, but schools were back to a normal schedule for Thursday.

Following the flooding, Bridgeport officials encouraged people to reach out to insurance providers to find out options.

Any damages or loss in Bridgeport not covered by insurance should be reported to the city’s EOC at 203-579-3829. White said the city will file a report about damages with the state — the first step in trying to get potential reimbursements.

Things were “pretty much back to normal” in Fairfield on Wednesday after seeing 6 inches of rain Tuesday, Lt. Bob Kalamaras said.

At the height of the storm, Fairfield police were out directing traffic near flooded roadways, many of which don’t typically flood. Fire crews responded to over 95 calls for help between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., officials said.

In Fairfield, 36 cars were towed after being stalled in water too deep to drive through and more than 24 people were rescued from their cars, Kalamaras said.

United Illuminating spokesman Ed Crowder said Wednesday that Fairfield saw the most outages in the company’s coverage area Tuesday. At the peak, just over 900 households in town lost power, police said. UI had lights back on within a few hours.

Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross said there were scattered outages during Tuesday’s storm, the worst of which were in Darien.

“We had to cut the power to some 950 customers for about a half hour in order to safely remove tree limbs that were pulling down our lines and partially blocking West Avenue,” Gross said.

Gross and Crowder said during storms like Tuesday’s, tree limbs can pull down power lines and leave people in the dark. The two utility companies urged residents to treat downed wires as live and to report them as soon as possible.

Danbury didn’t see much rain compared to towns and cities along the coast; a reported 2.71 fell in the city. Some roadways were closed by flooding, but Danbury faired much better than coastal areas.

“We’ve had an extraordinary amount of rain over the last 24 hours,” Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

During the height of flooding, Metro-North Railroad was forced to suspend the Danbury Branch line of service from 5:40 p.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday.

September’s average rainfall for the New Haven area is 3.47 inches but, in just one day, Hamden saw 8.59 inches of rain. Areas throughout town were impassable.

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