Irene keeps citizens in the dark
Published 4:10 pm, Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Hurricane Irene may not have caused complete devastation in New Canaan, but many are still reeling from power outages.
"We came to stay at a relative's place on Silvermine since we lost power," Stacey Frizelli, a Stamford resident, said. "The second we got here on Saturday, the power went out. I think we must be bad luck."
Thankfully they got a generator, Frizelli said, though her home is still in the dark.
"It could be worse," she said. "We came down to New Canaan cause my brother-in-law had a big enough place for all of us and we love the downtown."
Downtown drew in lots of residents without power.
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"It's great to have such amazing weather after a storm that gives you cabin fever," Brenda Kruple, another New Canaan resident, said as she waited for some Starbucks coffee with three restless kids at her feet.
"We still don't have power," she said. "But I actually don't mind it. It forces us to get outside and be creative. But it will be better once all the roads are 100 percent cleared. It's still a little too dangerous to drive around town with my kids."
As she waits for the power to come back, she said she has been frequenting the library to charge up all her electronics.
"You never know how such a simple thing like not having a cell phone can render you completely useless," she laughed. "And at least with a charged laptop, the kids can still be entertained with a few DVDs here and there."
Nearly 70 percent of town was still without power as of Wednesday afternoon. The down power lines and hazardous road conditions even delayed the first day of school to Thursday, Sept. 1. The news of all the issues worried people who were out of town.
"I was surprised at all the damage I saw from my friends, especially since I'm in Florida and the hurricane didn't hit at all," said Jason Hennessey, a 2011 graduate of New Canaan High School. "I was worried for my friends and family. Thankfully they are all alright. Also, this is much like that rainstorm about 15 months ago that knocked school out for a good week, I have confidence we can overcome this."
Hennessey was referring to the infamous March 2010 storm which caused similar problems for town officials and residents.
"It's very comparable, but also very different," First Selectman Jeb Walker said of the two storms. "The March storm was a heck of a lot of rain in a short period of time. This was around five inches of rain in an extended period of time so we had no major flooding. On the other hand we had very large trees come down cause of saturated soil."
The trees were indeed the biggest issue. The Office of Emergency Management said the trees cause New Canaan more problems than other nearby towns.
"While this is a statewide event, New Canaan did suffer quite a lot. Many large cites that had very few trees, can be fixed without tree removal," the OEM said. "There were over 250 reported downed trees and wires in New Canaan that had to be dealt with before power could begin to be restored."