Gov. Lamont declares State of Emergency to help with power restoration and cleanup following Thursday’s storm

Extreme Weather

(WTNH) — Severe weather slammed Connecticut on Thursday afternoon. Residents saw flooding, downed trees, and wires, lightning, and power outages.

On Friday Governor Lamont announced that he declared a State of Emergency to help with cleanup and power restoration.

Eversource also announced on Friday that the majority of towns should have power restored by midnight, with Branford expected to be back in service by Saturday night.

Branford

Storm damage extended to the shoreline town of Branford, where Eversource reports nearly 90% of customers are without power this morning.

Governor Ned Lamont said in a press conference Thursday evening, “Branford, I’m told was probably hit the hardest.”

WEB EXTRA: Eversource provides updates on power restoration across the state

Over 16,000 homes and businesses in Branford were in the dark Thursday. That’s over 99% of all Eversource customers in town. By lunchtime Friday that number had dropped below 9,000.

The Connecticut National Guard reporting Thursday night the governor had approved 100 personnel from the National Guard Response Force and two search and rescue teams to deploy in East Haven and Branford.

Trees toppled and splintered there. Some leaning on houses, others destroying pools. Car windows smashed.

A tree was down across the highway on I-95 south in Branford. Traffic in the area was stopped while the road was impassable.

Neighbors saying the rain and wind came on quickly.

Frank Carrano, a Branford resident told News 8, right before the storm hit he had a worker power washing his house, “the poor kid I said ‘you better get out of here.’ I pulled his power washer in my garage closed the door and boom.”

Maria Saulino, another Branford resident said, “We were outside next door it was very bad. I’ve never seen something like this.”

Kenny Honore of Branford added, “It was like a light switch. Somebody turned it on and it just started coming down the crazy all of a sudden. Up the street, it’s a mess wires are down here.”

Hamden

Tornado warnings were in effect in parts of the state Thursday. Heavy winds knocked out traffic cameras across much of the western half of the state. Eversource and United Illuminating both reported thousands of their customers out of power as the storm tracked east.

RELATED: Strong storms move through the state, knocking out power to more than 40K

In Hamden, 4,500 homes and businesses were without power Thursday night. The storm hit hard and fast.

Traffic on Dixwell Avenue was backed up for miles with many side roads impassable due to storm damage.

Hamden Police Department was reporting the following roadways were impassable due to storm damage as of Thursday at 5 p.m.: Shepard Avenue and Sherman Avenue, Earl Avenue and Howard Avenue. The 400 block of Shepard Avenue, Town Walk Drive and Sherman Avenue, Shepard Avenue and West Shepard Avenue.

Police say there were several other streets that were passable but had fallen debris and encouraged drivers to drive safely.

Trees were down across roadways, pulling down power lines with them. Officials warn, if a wire is down assume it is live and do not go near it.

Some of the worst damage was near Dixwell Avenue. A roof ripped off a building at the Evergreen Property near Government Center by strong winds. The owner of the building told News 8, the rain was pouring through the third floor, flooding most of the offices there. He says the extensive damage done in only seconds will take at least a year to repair.

Anthony Cucineilli, “I was in the lobby of the building, the whole sky turned black, rain started going sideways and the next thing I heard was an enormous crash and I looked at the window and saw it all hit the street….This is nothing I’ve ever expected because I’ve never seen anything like this in all of the years I’ve been in real estate.”

In a residential neighborhood across town, the storm knocked down trees and split a family’s pool in half.

Lashawnda Coleman said during the storm her kids were inside the house screaming as the tree came down.

“My son knew what to do,” she said. “He rushed them from inside the house into the basement.”

But that wasn’t safe either: the water from the pool barreled downhill into the house.

“That was already cracked from the last storm and water just flooded in,” Coleman explained. Her family was hit by Isaias only weeks ago.

Knee-high water in the basement at the height of the storm Thursday, her family’s belongings are ruined.

“We tried to get everything off the ground,” she said. But, she says, “what matters is that we’re all safe.”

Up the road from the Colemans, Christopher Mulhall flagged downed wires for passersby. He told News 8 he tries to take care of his neighbors.

Cleanup for these residents will take a while.

RELATED: ‘It was like a tornado going through’: Waterbury residents talk damage from Thursday’s storm

Hamden’s Director of Public Works Craig Cesare reported one of his crews claimed they saw a tornado in front of them on Shepard Avenue.

Cesare also says he has received several reports of trees into homes across the city.

WEB EXTRA: Hamden Dir. of Public works Craig Cesare reports storm damage across the city

Hamden Storm Response Team and Mayor Curt Balzano Leng reported Thursday night that cleanup and recovery efforts relating to the storm were underway across the town. Hamden crews were working directly with United Illuminating to continue working toward infrastructure repair and power restoration.

“Hamden Public Works, Police, and Fire Departments are working diligently to ensure that road closures, flooded areas, downed wires, and trees are safely resolved and that residents in need remain served,” the town said.

Residents are advised to look for the latest information by the Hamden Police Department on Twitter, Facebook, or on www.hamden.com.

Mayor Leng stated, “Our Town was hit very hard today, and there was a lot of damage, but I’m very thankful that we do not believe there were any major injuries. Our residents can count on the fact that our Public Safety and first responder crews will be all-hands-on-deck and working through the night, and then as long as it takes to make our streets safe.”

RELATED: How long can food last in your fridge, freezer during a long-term power outage?

North Haven

Hamden’s neighbor, North Haven, was hit hard by the storm, too. Over 5,000 homes and businesses were in the dark Thursday night.

News 8 got reports of heavy tree damage and road flooding along the Interstate-91 corridor and possible tornado touch down.

Tree damage pattern indicates likely tornado touchdown in North Haven.

Video courtesy: @Stephaniemm77 via Reportit

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