Monday, August 29, 2011


From what I can tell, there's a real mix of situations in Waterbury post-Hurricane Irene. On my street, only a few small branches came down, but my neighborhood lost power and may not see it restored for 5 to 7 days. I've heard that there are power lines and trees blocking other streets (including Frost Road). City crews can't clean up until CL&P takes care of the power lines.

The only place I've been able to get any updates on what is happening in Waterbury is WATR 1320 AM, but I can listen to that only in my car. I wish the city would update their website with the latest news and information. I tried checking the Mayor's Facebook pages (he has two), but nothing there either.

Relatively speaking, Waterbury fared very well in the storm. The photos I've seen of the shoreline are very reminiscent of photos taken after the 1938 hurricane. But the massive power loss throughout the state is really bad. Many towns are completely without power. Waterbury has about a 30% loss of power. My employer up in Cornwall called me last night to report in that our building is fine, but no one in town has power, so don't come in to work. He also told me about a stream in Cornwall that is normally only three feet wide--yesterday it was more like 50-70 feet wide.

It was weird last night. My street was extremely dark and very quiet. Some people spent the night with family or friends who have power, the rest of us curled up next to a candle or battery-powered light and did some reading. One woman told me she spent the night staring at the dark. Now she's wondering what to do with the forty-five dollars' worth of hamburger meat she had in her freezer. Another neighbor suggested donating it to a church, which someone else down the street did yesterday.

My neighbor across the street has been regaling her granddaughters with stories about growing up in the south before electricity, when they relied on kerosene lamps, bought large blocks of ice to keep their food refrigerated, and had a radio powered by a giant battery. She remembers when they got their first telephone--a party line shared with one other household. She also remembers the flood of '55--she had moved up to Waterbury by then--watching people being rescued by helicopter.

I'm downtown on Grand Street right now, where I can access power and wifi, and fresh coffee. Last night we went to dinner at Royal Buffet on Wolcott Street, since they still have power. A few of my neighbors wound up there too. Later today I need to empty out my fridge and freezer, and try not to think about how much money I spent on all the food I have to throw away. On a happier note, my water heater is gas-powered, so I can still take hot showers (yay!).

I drove down to Freight Street earlier today to see what the Naugatuck River looks like. It's not bad, certainly higher than normal, and there's still a lot of water gushing into it.

Naugatuck River from Freight Street Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, the day after Irene.

The same stretch of the Naugatuck River in April 2005.

Water pouring into the Naugatuck River from underneath Route 8.

No comments: