Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Thunderstorm Topples Trees; 2,700 Middletown Customers Lose Power

UPDATE: At 10am on Wednesday, reported outages were down to 691. 
Uprooted tree, Wesleyan CFA
An uprooted tree on the Wesleyan campus.

Eversource crew on Country Club Rd about 8pm.
A quick but fierce summer thunderstorm blew through town Tuesday, uprooting trees, snapping power lines and snarling rush hour traffic.  Just before 5pm, thunder rumbled and the skies darkened. Twenty minutes later the storm was gone, but danger and chaos remained in its wake.

Mayor Dan Drew said some minor injuries from car accidents and other storm-related incidents were reported, but he was not aware of any serious health threats.

"The outages are slowly but steadily coming down" he said. "We're hoping everyone will be restored by some time in the morning. We'll have to see."

As of 10:30 pm, the Eversource energy company listed 2,262 customers (about 10% of Middletown customers) as without power. That was down from a peak of 2700 according to the mayor, who told The Eye that the South Farms section of town was particularly hard hit. Route 9 southbound near CVH was blocked due to storm damage, with reports of traffic backed up from Silver Street all the way into Cromwell.

But damage was widespread. Shortly after 5pm, Westfield Street was closed, with east-bound traffic diverted to Route 66/Washington Street at Ballfall Road. Drivers headed downtown soon found out that Washington Street was also shut down, between Butternut St. and Newfield St (Route 3). A normally 20-minute drive across town became an almost hour-long crawl through side streets.

Tree branches litter Veterans' Green.
(Click to embiggen.)
Drew said he ordered the city's Emergency Operations Center opened about 5:15, just after the storm hit the city. By 7pm, city dispatchers had handled 496 calls about situations that required police, firefighters, or other emergency services. The 496 number includes multiple calls for the same incident (for instance, several calls for one downed power line). Still, it was an intense rush of serious calls, spread throughout the city, and virtually all at once.

The EOC was closed down at about 10pm. The mayor said extra police were called in to safeguard hazards and direct traffic. He said Eversource had told him they were sending additional line crews to speed repairs.

(Click to embiggen.)
Trees branches littered Veterans Green along Washington Terrace, and large trees were snapped or uprooted near Wesleyan's Center for the Arts.

Surrounding towns were also hard hit.  The Middletown Press reported that Coginchaug High School's graduation ceremony was postponed due to the widespread power outages in Durham.

Looking for a silver lining? The forecast for Wednesday is beautiful.


Anonymous said...

great word "embiggen"

Anonymous said...

there are trees hanging from power lines on erin street, no power but no one cares to check, is it because it the north end.

Anonymous said...

Why is the closed CL&P/Eversource building in Middletown being used as a staging area? The location wasn't sufficient for them to keep the building open when they consolidated - why don't they use the East Hampton site (which is where they sent the Middletown staff to) for their staging? Why, because it is too small! Even the building is too small.

So now, the staging area is back at the Middletown facility - those of us in the neighborhood would welcome them back EXCEPT....instead of opening up the building, using the power, bathroom facilities and garbage bins......they have a temporary office trailer, which is running a generator 24/7! Hello....there are people trying to sleep here! This is definitely bad planning!