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Area recovers from drenching Hurricane Irene

NORTHWEST CORNER — The consensus from municipal officials in the region is that towns did better than expected during Hurricane Irene.The hurricane weakened to a Category 1 storm as it headed toward Connecticut on Sunday morning, Aug. 28, but it still packed a major punch.Heavy rain and very high winds took their toll, with flooding and power outages reported in many areas.Connecticut Light and Power (CL&P) reported on Sunday afternoon that more than 760,000 customers in the state were without power.At the peak of the hurricane at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Winsted Town Manager Dale Martin reported that roads were flooded and trees and power lines were down in many areas of town.The strength of the hurricane became so great that Martin and Winchester Police Chief Bob Scannell instituted a travel ban within the town.Floods were reported on Hinsdale Avenue, Torrington Road and Willow Street.Walker Field and Winsted Recreation Department’s field on Rowley Street were both flooded.A lieutenant from the Winchester Fire Department who did not want to give her name said more than 20 residents called in to the department asking for assistance due to basement floods.“This is the worst weather system I have ever seen,” the lieutenant said. “In the last hurricane we had tons of trees blown down. This time around we are dealing with a lot of basements flooded.”According to CL&P, at the hurricane’s peak, 1,952 of 6,144 Winsted residents lost electricity.Despite the havoc the hurricane caused Winsted, on Monday, Martin said the town made out better than expected.“We had some sporadic outages of power, some flooding, but no injuries and definitely no reports of fatalities,” Martin said. “Someone reported in that a tree came down on someone’s boat that they pulled from the water. But no other damages have been brought to my attention.”In Barkhamsted, First Selectman Don Stein reported that at the hurricane’s peak, 55 percent of the town’s residents, more than 881 people, were without power.“On the whole, I think we were lucky,” Stein said. “The bridge on Park Road washed out, but we should be able to get it up and running again. We had very minimal damage compared to what it could have been. It could have been a lot more damage than there was. I would like to thank the volunteer fire department, who did an awesome job in making sure everyone was safe.”In Colebrook, First Selectman Tom McKeon said several bridges and roads suffered damage from the hurricane.“Part of Sandy Brook Road got washed out,” McKeon said. “We lost a bridge on Deer Hill Road. We also sustained some damage to a bridge on Millbrook Road where it got washed out from both sides of the bridge. We had about five residents we had to evacuate out of their houses. One was on Campbell Road where the house had a basement filled with water. Two houses on Route 183 got mud and everything into their houses. But that was the worst damage.”According to CL&P, at the hurricane’s peak, 205 of 809 residents lost power.In Norfolk, First Selectman Susan Dyer said at one point, more than 70 percent of the town was without power during the hurricane.Several roads were closed due to the storm, including Loon Meadow Drive, Wheeler Road and Schoolhouse Road.“It could have been much worse,” Dyer said. “We had some washouts and the roads were closed because of trees falling down on wires. But no resident was trapped. We were able to make sure they had another exit or entrance. We have not had any property or infrastructure damage reported.”

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