Stamford residents cope with more outages in aftermath of latest storm
Updated 7:26 pm, Thursday, March 8, 2018
STAMFORD — Just as city residents finished recovering from last week’s nor’easter, many of them are back in the dark again.
Thousands of Stamford residents remained without power Thursday, one day after a second nor’easter dumped nearly a foot of snow and brought down hundreds trees and wires.
“I drove around (Thursday) morning and it was really bad,” said Ben Guinta, a North Stamford resident whose family lost power during the storm.
Ted Jankowski, Stamford’s director of Public Safety, Health and Welfare, said the 911 communications center fielded more than 800 calls during the storm, which brought down more than 360 wires, transformers and trees throughout the city. There were also 16 accidents with minor injuries, he said.
Jankowski said the slow-moving storm began wreaking havoc around Wednesday’s evening commute.
“That’s when all hell broke loose,” he said. “We had whiteout conditions with the snow, the snow that was coming down was very wet and very heavy. We had numerous calls coming into the 911 center reporting trees down, power lines down. We had vehicles that were trapped out there. It was a mess.”
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Wednesday’s garbage and recycling will be picked up on Friday
Thursday and Friday’s garbage and recycling will be picked up on Saturday
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A school bus was among the stranded vehicles when lives wires fell on its roof in the Cove. Jankowski said he didn’t know if anyone aside from the driver was on the bus. Stamford schools were closed Wednesday and Thursday.
“Given there were a lot of wires down and emergency vehicles in the road and so many roads were impassable, we wanted to make time to make sure the students were safe,” said Sharon Beadle, a spokeswoman for Stamford Public Schools.
Jankowski said live wires also fell on a fire truck, an ambulance and a city operations vehicle in North Stamford.
The mayor’s office said there were more than 200 road closures — mostly north of the Merritt Parkway — Thursday evening due to downed wires.
It was a similar scene in New Canaan, where there were about 190 roads affected by downed trees and wires and schools will be closed for a third straight day on Friday. New Canaan officials said about 30 percent of the town’s homes remained without power Thursday.
Eversource warned it would take a “multi-day effort” to restore power to all customers.
“The situation is the same across the state,” Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross said. “Stamford is one of 149 cities we serve in Connecticut, and biggest issues we’re dealing with right now are tree damage, blocked roads, snapped power lines, broken poles and other kinds of damage.”
“We have hundreds of line and tree crews out there working, as well as out-of-state crews that came in last week to help us and stayed to help with this storm,” he said. “And we have thousands of people working behind the scenes in supporting roles to get power restored as quickly and as safely as we can. So, it’s all hands on deck here and it’s been all hands on deck since last Friday.”
Guinta, his wife and their two children, were among the fortunate ones whose power was restored by Thursday evening.
“I don’t exactly know how we lost power, but there are trees and limbs down all around our neighborhood, so I suspect it has to do with that,” he said.
As the storm unfolded Wednesday evening, Guinta said he remembered thinking it didn’t seem as bad as last week’s nor’easter.
“It seemed like there was a whole lot less wind with this storm than there was with the first one, so I kind of was thinking that this one wouldn’t be too bad,” he said. “But when I went outside at one point on Wednesday night … and it was snowing like crazy, and so many of the branches and trees were hanging so low under that wet, heavy snow, I realized it would not be good.”
Though losing power can be a nuisance, Guinta said he prefers to look at the bigger picture.
“We’re OK, the house is OK, most of the houses in the neighborhood seem OK and nobody was hurt, so that’s what really matters,” he said.
Staf writers John Nickerson and Erin Kayata contributed to this report.