Around 6 p.m. Monday the storm picked up in speed and ferocity in New Canaan. The sun was falling below the horizon and the sky was turning dark.
Downtown was virtually empty. Here and there, a civilian car drove past or stopped in isolation at a red light, wipers clearing rain and leaves from windshields. Most of the vehicles on the road were police, fire or other emergency vehicles. Many of them had their sirens on, which could be heard from downtown New Canaan nearly constantly, though at various Doppler wavelengths, indicating that the cars were weaving and snaking through town.
While the rain was light and the wind generally was not oppressive, the gusts were incredible. The streetlights on East Avenue and Cherry Street tossed on their wires, like piñatas swaying after a blow, only resting before another one came.
On Elm Street, one man, wearing a neon yellow parka with the hood up, walked his dog, Denali, a stocky long-haired Alaskan husky. Resident Sherman Bull is a hiker and outdoorsman who didn't seem to mind the elements one bit.
"I enjoy bad weather. I climb mountains, I get a rush from it. I've seen higher winds in Antarctica. I do watch for falling debris, though; that's something you have to look out for," he said.
Park Street was home to the only two places still open for business, the Mobil and Gulf gas stations. As trash bins flew down the street in front of him, O.B. Rehman, an employee of Gulf, stood watching from beneath the pumps' illuminated roof. Why was he still at work, six hours after a travel ban had been instituted by the town?
"It was busier earlier in the day. We had some people in the morning, but really no one after 2 p.m. The storm is worse now than it was two hours ago. I really don't know why I am still here," he said.
By 7 p.m., it was completely dark. Where normally the full harvest moon would have provided light enough to see by, it shone only on the top of the storm that covered the Atlantic seaboard. The gusts had picked up and at times were strong enough to nearly knock one off one's feet. Large garbage cans were picked up during the gusts and pushed along the ground. Leaves and some sticks flew through the air.
It was best to be inside at that point.
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