Hurricane Irene floods town, downs trees and wires
NORTH CANAAN — Like other towns across the region, North Canaan dealt with its share of Hurricane Irene damage: trees and wires down and homes and property inundated with flood water. There were no reported injuries, but Monday’s cleanup included removing a tree that crashed on a home and a road washed away by a raging creek.By mid-afternoon Sunday, the sun made an appearance as the eye of the storm passed over. People headed out to survey what would not be the final results. Winds soon picked up again and more rain fell. Waterlogged trees fell and swollen rivers were literally pushed over the edge.No one knows better about that second blast than Bob and Brenda Wyatt. At their modest ranch home at the corner of North Elm and Orchard streets, two locust trees came down early Sunday evening. With their high crowns and shallow roots, they are very vulnerable in high wind. One toppled across Orchard Street, taking utility lines with it. The other fell just as the couple was arriving home from dinner.“I had just pulled in and was getting out of the car when I heard it,” Wyatt said. “I went around and saw it was on the house, and yelled to my wife to get out. I was hoping it was no more than a limb, but the whole thing went over.”It crashed onto the back corner, puncturing the attic above a bedroom, but not coming through the interior ceiling. The top of the tree came to rest on a mature white birch that appeared to be severely bent over but not broken.On Old Turnpike Road North a washout kept the town crew busy through Sunday evening and into Monday, when they were out first thing. A stream flooded its banks there, coursing over the backyard of a home owned by Roland Betts at the “four corners” at the north end of Clayton Road. About 60 feet of substantial wooden fencing was knocked down. The water hit the edge of the asphalt, tearing up chunks and sending them into the stream on the other side of the recently rebuilt bridge there. Large piles of gravel were used to block the road on either side through the night. Repairs included bringing in a backhoe to dredge up a big pile of asphalt pieces.Finding a silver lining were kayakers on Camp Brook, normally a small stream that courses through the center of town. It flooded yards and businesses, the municipal parking lot and overflowed at Devine Avenue and Reed Street and partially onto Route 44.Not far away, the Blackberry River turned the Lindell’s lumberyard into “lakefront property.” Normally not visible beyond an open field south of the warehouse, by Sunday afternoon it had nearly reached the fuel tank farm there.In East Canaan, Allyndale Road was blocked by numerous fallen trees. At the Beckley Furnace site, the volume of water coming over the top of the Industrial Monument Dam was so massive that “regulars” were overwhelmed. Speculation was that had the old dam not just been restored, it would have been washed away.