Tropical Storm Ida’s Remnants Close Roads, Cut Power To Hundreds
The Pootatuck River was roiling Thursday morning, and hundreds of local homes were in the dark after the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida passed through the region during the overnight hours of September 1-2.
By daybreak, 432 Eversource customers — or 3.71% of the utility’s local customer base — were without power. Falling trees took power lines down with them in a few places in town, causing the outages.
Newtown Public Works General Supervisor Anthony Capozziello said he and other Public Works employees reported for duty at 10:30 Wednesday night, when the rain began.
“The rain came down real heavy between about 10:30 until about 1 in the morning,” Capozziello said Thursday morning. “It backed down around 2 am, and then is just stopped around 4,” he added. “The wind picked up at the end of it and put some more stuff down, but nothing too crazy.”
A Wunderground weather station in Newtown reported 6.24 inches of rain for September 1-2.
By Thursday morning, most roads were still fully passable after being visited by Public Works and/or firefighters called out to the locations including Poverty Hollow, Jeremiah Road, and others. Dodgingtown, Hook & Ladder, and Sandy Hook firefighters responded to calls for service within their districts for trees and/or wires or flooding issues.
Trees and wires falling led to partial and full road closures in different areas in town, however. Alberts Hill Road was fully closed after a tree fell into the lake and part of the road south of the Upper Paugussett State Forest parking area washed into the Housatonic River.
“That’s going to be closed for a little while,” Capozziello said. “We have a contractor coming out for that. We’re going to need a big machine for that one.”
Multiple driveways washed out onto Hi-Barlow Road near that road’s intersection with Hattertown, and a washout occurred in the area of Taunton Hill at Great Hill, “which we’ll be able to fix,” Capozziello said.
Ram Pasture and Dickinson Park both had flooding issues, as did sections of Brookbridge, Butternut Ridge, Birch Hill, Fawnwood, Hattertown, High Bridge, Hopewell, Jeremiah, Poorhouse, and Poverty Hollow, according to Capozziello.
The road closures led to a two-hour delay for schools on Thursday.
Multiple Flood Warnings were issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) on Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday evening, residents were warning of the approaching storm and its potential for flooding.
A second and third warning followed on Thursday. The first, in effect until 10 am, warned of flooding in urban areas and small streams across Fairfield County.
Shortly after 9 am came the second warning, which is in effect until 10:24 pm Saturday, September 4, due to water levels of the Housatonic at the Stevenson Dam.
Flood stage for that dam is 11 feet. At 9 am Thursday, the dam’s water level was recorded at 16.9 feet, according to the NWS. The last time the dam reached that crest was March 7, 1979, also according to the weather service.
Earlier in the week, First Light lowered Lake Lillinonah to 192 feet, or 3½ feet lower than its normal low operating level, in anticipation of high river flows. The utility announced the plan to lower the lake on Tuesday, and said it would remain lowered “until high river flows subside.”
The water level Thursday morning was 193.3 feet, according to the Friends of the Lake website. That is considered a safe level, with low chance of debris, the website also noted.
Associate Editor Shannon Hicks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.