Tracking the Storm in Darien: Day Two
While the storm has subsided, Darien police are urging resident to stay at home due to dangerous road conditions.
Police are reporting "hundreds of locations in which downed trees have severed power lines and caused property damage" following Saturday's wind and rain storm.
The storm, which slammed Fairfield County on Saturday and early Sunday morning, left about half of Darien households without power as of noon on Sunday, according to Connecticut Light & Power.
While the utility company stopped work on Saturday night due to the dangerous conditions, CL&P resumed its attempts to restore power this morning, beginning with high priority locations first, according to police.
"Everybody's working on getting things back to normal," said First Selectman David Campbell Sunday afternoon. "It's going to take a few days. It's a real mess. Obviously, a lot of trees are down, and a lot of power lines are down.
"CL&P is bringing in a lot of extra crews, but it's going to take some time, because all the towns have been hit pretty badly," Campbell said.
As of noon on Sunday, 62 percent of households in Greenwich were in the dark, along with 66 percent of New Canaanites, 45 percent of Norwalk homes, 39 percent of Stamford residents and 55 percent of Westport homes, according to CL&P. In Darien, 3,861 of CL&P's 7,841 customers were without power, a number that translates to 49 percent.
"Public works is out cutting the big trees and working with the power company to clean up as fast as they can, then they'll be working to restore power," Campbell said. "People shouldn't expect it to happen very quickly."
Though Darienites are not yet certain when they can expect to have their power switches flipped back on, Darien Public Schools have already made the decision to close on Monday.
New Canaan Public Schools will also be closed on Monday.
Police are still urging residents to stay inside, and to only call the police department for routine emergencies.
"Currently our communications center is inundated with reports of life-threatening emergency calls," Sgt. Jeremiah Marron said in a prepared statement.
"We are very aware that there are trees and power lines down on almost every street in Darien. Dozens of main roadways are completely impassable and non-essential travel is not recommended. All downed power lines are to be considered energized," according to Marron.
The hundreds of downed trees can be attributed to wind gusts between 35 mph and 45 mph, as well as saturated soil, according to Bill Jacquemin, a meteorologist at the Connecticut Weather Center in Danbury.
"The reason it was so damaging has to do with the fact that as we come out of winter, and the frost leaves the ground, the soil is very loose," Jacquemin said.
"Not to mention that we also now have saturated soil, completely full of water, which is not good for anchoring trees. This allows wind that normally wouldn't take trees down to do so," he said.
According to Jacquemin, 1.86 inches of rain fell on Darien on Saturday, creating an especially muddy mix in the soil.
Downed branches can likely be attributed to the wind speed, and the force of the rain coming down.
"Coming out of winter, a lot of those branches are dead," he said.
Jacquemin said that Darien will experience a lull on Sunday afternoon, as it sits below the center of the storm system, but residents can expect the weather system to pick up again as the day progresses.
"Later today, we'll get those winds back again as the storm starts to pull away, and we get a big difference in pressure," he said. "You can expect it to get rather breezy again -- not necessarily as bad, because the storm has been weakening, but the winds will come back."
According to the National Weather Service, Darien can expect an additional 0.2 to 0.5 inches of precipitation throughout Saturday afternoon and evening. There's also a chance of a thunderstorm on Sunday afternoon.
Additionally, NWS has issued a flood watch for Southern Connecticut, which will be in effect until midnight.