Governor Rell issues state of emergency
STAMFORD -- Mayor Michael Pavia led Gov. M. Jodi Rell to the entrance of Sterling Farms golf course for a look at the tangle of wires, poles and evergreen trees sprawling over the stone wall and into Newfield Avenue, sections of which were closed to traffic on Monday.
"This is typical, this is what we are looking at throughout the city," Pavia said.
As part of a tour of havoc wreaked by Saturday's storm, Rell stopped in Stamford late Monday morning, after visiting Greenwich, to view the damage near the golf course -- which lost about 100 trees -- followed by a brief drive in North Stamford. Rell said her office had been staying on top of the storm situation since Saturday, when strong wind and rain downed trees and wires, igniting fires, destroying homes, blocking roads and leaving many without power. As of Monday morning, about 18,000 Connecticut Light & Power customers were still without electricity in Stamford, according to Director of Operations Ernie Orgera.
"I don't think anyone expected the fierceness, the ferocity of the storm," Rell said.
She offered Pavia assistance from state police to help direct traffic on Monday.
"We have about exhausted manpower for the police department," Pavia said. "So we may have to take you up on that."
Later in the afternoon, after visits to Stamford and Greenwich, Rell's office issued a release declaring a state of emergency.
At the golf course, Rell said she was asking municipalities to record as much of the damage and their costs to help the state with its declaration to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The state Department of Emergency Management & Homeland Security is surveying the damage across the state, collecting data on costs to the public sector and private residences. This data will determine whether the state meets thresholds for consideration for federal assistance.
These thresholds include at least 100 homes with uninsured damage FEMA determines to be major and $2.8 million in uninsured losses within the county as well as $4.3 million in uninsured losses throughout the state, according to Scott DeVico, department spokesman.
The storm damage was mostly concentrated within Fairfield County, he said.
If the losses do qualify, FEMA reimburses up to $29,900 per individual or 75 percent of eligible city or state projects, according to DeVico.
Pre-assessments forms to survey the damage are due to the department's regional coordinators on March 22.
In Stamford, the storm destroyed about six homes, according to Director of Operations Ernie Orgera.
In addition to fires, falling trees and strong winds damaged homes, according to Pavia.
School was cancelled on Monday because the city could not guarantee safe stops and routes to school, he said. School was later cancelled for Tuesday as well.