Report by Paula Antolini, August 9, 2020, 2:51PM EDT
6 HOURS AGO:
We have a limited supply of mostly AA batteries and some C & D size that were donated by Duracell. They are available at the Bethel Public Schools Middle School shower station (open Sunday 6am to noon) as well as at the Municipal Center & Stony Hill FD charging station open 9am to 6pm today.
The showers will be available Monday as well. The Stony Hill FD charging station will close after today as the building will be used for voting on Tuesday.
Last night into the early morning hours, tree crews with Eversource CT & Town Of Bethel – CT DPW opened Marywood Rd which was completely blocked in and Wolfpits to one lane for emergency vehicles. Please avoid Wolfpits Rd as it has a lot of debris and wires along the sides of the road & still needs extensive wire and pole restoration work.
Tree on wires on Taylor Road & near 45 Codfish Hill Rd were removed also.
We are being told that a tree crew will not be available again till after 2 or 3pm today to tackle the remaining areas of concern.
We wish we had better news concerning opening roads and removing dangerous trees from power lines.
The good news is once these crews remove a tree from power lines and open a road, it allows for the restoration crews work to be a bit easier and hopefully the power comes on a little quicker.
We will continue to update you as progress is made.
1 DAY AGO:
For unknown reasons I cannot access the town’s official Facebook page, so I am posting today’s storm recovery update here.
Storm Recovery Update for Saturday, August 8, 2020 @ 10:30am:
Eversource was finally able to dispatch one tree crew and one line crew to work with our highway team late yesterday afternoon clearing trees and wires from roads. They were successful in clearing and making safe the following roads:
• Rte 302
• Rte 58 (Putnam Park Road)
• Mountain Orchard
• Long Meadow
The following roads remain closed and should be avoided:
• Hoyt’s Hill (at Rte 58)
• Walnut Hill at Quaker
• Wine Sap at Pound Sweet Hill
• Hawleyville at McNeil
Eversource has informed us that they will not be able to supply more crews until Saturday afternoon. Our highway teams will be ready to work with them as soon as they arrive.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE:
We have received unconfirmed reports of downed wires in our area being re-energized by mistake. This can be caused by an improperly configured home generator. Even if it is not in your neighborhood, an energized line caused by a generator back feed can kill you.
As a reminder, please do not touch any wires downed trees with wires in them. Do not attempt to clear any trees with wires in them. Do not drive around or through barricades where downed wires are present.
All of us are very aware of how frustrating it is to still be dealing with closed roads at this stage of the recovery. We are working daily and hourly with Eversource as well as state officials to obtain the resources we need to get these areas cleared. We all understand how tempting it might be to simply grab a chain saw and take matters into your own hands. But please, do not put your own life in danger!
CHARGING STATIONS AND SHOWERS ARE AVAILABLE OVER THE WEEKEND
Charing stations at town hall: 9am – 6pm Saturday and Sunday
Showers at Bethel Middle School: 6am – noon Saturday and Sunday.
Please stay safe everyone.
After more than 72 hours of requesting Eversource CT make safe crews we were able to open up a couple spots finally late last night. Long Meadow Lane was cleared to allow fire and ambulance vehicles to access it as well as Mtn Orchard and Nashville Rd were opened up.
These are prioritized only to allow traffic and emergency vehicles access. Restoration will happen later. Other spots to make accessible today include Wolfpits Rd, Weed Rd (for FD access), among others. Town crews are concentrating on assisting Eversource CT with opening any closed roads but Town crews can not cut trees entangled in wires. We have not had good cooperation with Eversource to obtain the crews we need. We continue to press the need for more crews and await their assignment to Bethel.
Rte 58 has been cleared of trees and open in both direction near Steck nursery.
Crews working on Nashville Rd now to open up the road.
2 DAYS AGO:
***PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT***
At the South Street Firehouse, we have non-potable water available if you need it! There is a filling station set-up in the rear parking lot.
SHFD is open as a charging station and for potable water. There is a white hose on the side of the building, park in the lot off of Route 6. Please wear a mask when entering the community room.
For latest update of Storm recovery in Bethel: https://www.bethel-ct.gov/qcontent/NewsFeed.aspx?FeedID=785
Rte 302 east of Judd Ave cleared of tree and wires. Use caution traffic light remains out.
3 DAYS AGO:
Trees and wires are continuing to come down well after yesterday’s storm. Some wires are not live, but others are, and there is no way to tell the difference between the two visually. Road closures will continue to change as conditions improve or deteriorate over time. Just because a road was passable earlier does not mean there won’t be newly erected road closures due to new hazards. Please abide by barricades and caution tape and do not under any circumstances remove tape because you feel like taking a risk. Removing a warning or barrier exposes everyone who comes behind you to the same risk, but without the warning you were afforded.
Also, traffic lights without power are treated like stop signs. All drivers should stop at such lights whether temporary stop signs are present or not.
Currently major road closures in town include: Route 58 between Jacobs Lane and Putnam Memorial Park, Route 302 immediately East of Judd Ave, and Payne Rd between Buff Lane and Shelter Rock Rd.
Town of Bethel:
Storm Update for Wednesday, August 5th, 11am:
Tropical Storm Isaias turned out to be one of the most significant storms in Connecticut’s recent history. At present, just under 700,000 Connecticut residents are without power, and outages stretch from the Carolinas up to Maine. By comparison, Hurricane Irene (2011) knocked about 600,000 homes offline, and the following fall tropical storm took out 900,000.
I mention these past events to help prepare you for the unpleasant news that it is likely to take anywhere from one to two weeks for all power to be fully restored, based on our previous experience with large scale outages. We do not yet have initial restoration estimates from Eversource, and we are aware that the company will be bringing in mutual aid crews from around the nation to assist. This will be a very large scale operation.
Here in Bethel, we have about 5,500 homes without power, or about 61% of the town. Most roads have been reopened, with the exception of roads that are blocked with downed wires and trees with wires.
Residents are reminded that Bethel highways crews are prohibited from clearing any trees where wires are involved; our crews must wait for qualified Eversource “make safe” technicians to arrive before they can begin clearing.
CRITICALLY IMPORTANT: STAY AWAY FROM ANY TREES WITH WIRES! DO NOT TOUCH THEM OR TRY TO CLEAR OR MOVE THEM UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
IF YOU HAVE A HOME GENERATOR, PLEASE MAKE SURE IT HAS BEEN PROPERLY INSTALLED BY A LICENSED ELECTRICIAN TO PREVENT POWER BACKFEEDS. BACK FEEDING POWER INTO THE GRID CAN KILL LINE WORKERS.
Town hall is open for charging electronic devices. Social distancing and masks are required. Town hall will open from 9am to 8pm today, tomorrow and Friday.
Stony Hill Fire Dept also is available 9am to 6pm for charging in the community room. Please wear a mask and practice proper social distancing rules.
Food: Caraluzzi’s and Big-Y are both open. Most gas stations are open and many restaurants and deli’s are open. We recommend that you call ahead.
I will send my next update after receiving a “make safe” schedule from Eversource.
4 DAYS AGO:
SHFD is currently open as a charging station for electronic devices. Please use the side entrance off of Route 6. Be aware we do not have WiFi currently.
Masks required, please!
More than half of Bethel homes are out of power. Expect several days for full restoration. Do Not go near downed wires, they can be energized and dangerous. Do Not travel unless necessary. DPW and Police are assessing blocked roads and outages and we will work with Eversource to begin restoration later tonight, Please be patient as this is affecting all Bethel residents and takes time to make repairs and clear roads. thank you.
5 DAYS AGO:
Many trees and wires down in town. DO NOT GO NEAR wires or trees on wires as they may be energized. FD/PD patrolling the roads and taping off/barricading blocked roads.
DO NOT DRIVE AROUND or MOVE BARRICADES!
We will be evaluating the outages and working with Eversource to work on restoration. Be patient, there are 2500 outages in Bethel and almost 75,000 statewide mostly in our region.
8/4/2020 7:00 a.m.
Tropical Storm Update:
LATEST TRACK SLIGHTLY TO THE WEST WITH FASTER TIMING…TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF CONNECTICUT AND MASSACHUSSETTS…STRONGEST WINDS ARE EXPECTED IN WESTERN CONNECTICUT THIS AFTERNOON AND THIS EVENING…
At 5:00 AM Tropical Storm Isaias was located near 36.3 N 77.5 W or approximately 85 miles west southwest of Norfolk, Virginia. Isaias has maximum sustained winds of 70 MPH and is moving to the north northeast at 28 MPH. Tropical Storm warnings are in effect for all of Southern New England.
T.S. Isaias is moving faster than expected and this has moved up the time of impact by 2 hours for our area. The center of T.S. Isaias is now forecast to make its closest approach (close to western CT) at approximately 4:00 PM (10 hours from now) this afternoon. The latest runs of the NAM-HRES and HRRR models are indicating that the right eye wall will move thru Fairfield county and then along the border of Connecticut and New York between 2:00 – 6:00 PM. The models are indicating that the tropical storm is going to still be packing gusts between 65 – 75 MPH in Western Connecticut and between 55 – 65 MPH in Eastern CT as it’s rain bands move thru the state.
The most likely timing for the tropical storm force winds is now from 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM. The primary threat from Isaias will be from strong winds. Based on the current NHC forecast we can expect a high end moderate to borderline major impact to trees and powerlines. As with all dying tropical systems there is also the risk for weak tornadoes to occur. The tropical storm will also be accompanied by some heavy rain of 1” – 3” especially in western CT and minor urban flooding is possible.
Tropical Storm Isaias forecast is not 100% certain at this time, but we are expecting sustained winds of 45 – 55 MPH and gusts in the 55 – 65 MPH range Tuesday afternoon and evening. 2-4” of rain possible as well. Police, Fire, and DPW crews are prepping for the storm.
If you wxperience a power outage, call Eversource 1-800-286-2000.
Be sure to charge your cell phones and electronic devices before the storm hits, have extra batteries and flashlights on hand and bring in any loose lawn furniture, umbrellas, etc.
If your area is susceptible to power outages and you have a well, you should have extra water on hand as needed.
Generators should only be used outdoors away from any openings into the home.
We will continue to monitor the storm and provide updates as needed.