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Some Conn. Residents Get 'Flood Emergency' From Ida’s Remnants

Conditions are improving across Connecticut after the remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped torrential rain over a handful of hours Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Only parts of Eastern Connecticut remain under a flood watch.

But the damage has been done.

The United States Geological Survey reported up to eight inches of rain in Greenwich as Southwestern Connecticut got the worst of the storm. The National Weather Service issued a rare “flood emergency” to the area Wednesday night.

“The NWS labels the flash flood emergency as ‘Damage Threat: Catastrophic,’” said Connecticut Public meteorologist Garett Argianas. “This is a step above a flash flood warning, which is already considered a dangerous situation.”

Fairfield policetweeted early Thursday morning that there were numerous vehicles stranded or submerged on local roadways. Darien Police reported zero visibility on the roads late Wednesday night.

“NON-EMERGENCY travel is highly discouraged! Stay home and stay safe,” read a tweet posted just before midnight by Darien Police. “DO NOT drive through flooded areas!”

Many Connecticut roads were impassable due to flooding as of Thursday morning, including I-395 Northbound in Waterford. Both Amtrak and MetroNorth suspended rail service in Connecticut. WFSB reported several school closures including Notre Dame High School in Fairfield and the Columbia School District.

The town of Columbia received one-half-of-a-foot of rain Wednesday night into Thursday morning as the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused minor flooding to Gary Silvester's basement.
Gary Silvester
The town of Columbia received one-half-of-a-foot of rain Wednesday night into Thursday morning as the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused minor flooding to Gary Silvester's basement.

The town of Columbia got six inches of rain. That led to flooding in Gary Silvester’s basement. He posted avideo on twitter of his wife and him trying to pump out a few inches of water.“[Our] sump pump got overwhelmed probably about 12:50,” Silvester said. “We’ve really been just sort of squeegeeing the water towards it since then.”

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Silvester said his basement’s only taken on water three times in the 14 years he’s lived in Columbia. But it’s happened twice in the last month. He said past events pushed him to prepare for this one.

“I actually was in the basement waiting for this to happen,” Silvester said. “My wife went to bed and I sort of stayed up and took my book down to the basement ready to jump into action hoping it wasn’t going to happen. But, it did.” Still, he’s seen horrifying video of New York Subways and roads across the Northeast under heavy flooding, so he knows it could’ve been worse.

There are minimal power outages across Connecticut. Eversource reported as of 6:24 a.m. 16,772 outages, which is under two percent of its customers statewide. Less than one percent of United Illuminating customers in Connecticut were in the dark.

Officials across the state were surveying the damage as of Thursday morning. An exit on Route 9 southbound in Cromwell is closed as a result of the storm. The Connecticut Department of Transportation reports that recent rain eroded the outside of a culvert pipe – and that caused the pavement at the end of the exit ramp to collapse. The left side of the roadway now has a large divot in it, right where travelers would access Rt. 372 from Rt. 9.

The closure is seen by Cromwell officials as a major headache for local officials as it’s a popular way to not only get to Cromwell, but also to Middletown.

CT DOT says it’ll be closed for at least 24 hours as officials determine the best course of action – they’ve got to dig into the ground some more to further investigate what’s an 84 inch culvert pipe.

In the meantime, Cromwell’s town manager recommends drivers use Exit 23 and 21 on I-91 in lieu of the now closed Route 9, Exit 19.

Updated: September 2, 2021 at 7:06 AM EDT
This story has been updated.
Frankie Graziano is the host of The Wheelhouse, focusing on how local and national politics impact the people of Connecticut.

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