High winds, rain, and an incoming tide all combined for an impressive set of waves at the Pequot Avenue beaches as Tropical Storm Irene made landfall in Connecticut on Sunday. However, the spectacle was not without consequences.
"Pretty much the beaches along Pequot Avenue have been destroyed," said Reid Burdick, emergency management director for New London. "The sand has been eroded and there’s nothing there but bare rock.”
Waves flooded the length of Guthrie Beach and crested the wall there. The fire department had to ask the to clear spectators from the area, according a reader. Burdick said he did not know if had been affected in the same way.
The storm brought down several trees and limbs, as firefighters and crews from the responded to multiple incidents to clear or block off roads. Leaves, twigs, and other small debris also littered roadways. On Water Street, a portable toilet had been blown, right side up, to the right side of the road.
Much of eastern Connecticut is in the dark, with Connecticut Light and Power's outage map showing most of the region with 80-100 percent loss of electricity. The reported earlier today that 51 percent of the city was without power.
According to Connecticut Light and Power, a peak total of 622,000 customers were without electricity as a result of Irene. The outages surpass a record set in 1985 with Hurricane Gloria, which left 477,000 CL&P customers without power. According to a press release from CL&P, crews have been deployed to begin repairing downed wires.
Norma Pabon, shelter manager at the Red Cross emergency shelter set up in the , said the shelter went to generator power this morning after losing electricity. There were 54 people using the shelter on Sunday morning. Though the shelter has not officially closed, the police department allowed people to return to their homes at 2 p.m. and no one but Red Cross personnel was at the shelter on Sunday afternoon.
“People would rather be home than be in this place, where it’s very muggy,” said Pabon.
Gov. Dannel Malloy lifted a ban on tractor trailers on state highways and also reopened the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways, precautions put in place this morning, by mid-day. However, he also cautioned residents against traveling unless it is necessary, due to debris in roads and the possibility that the backside of the storm may bring more damaging winds.
According to the National Weather Service, tropical storm conditions are expected to continue tomorrow with wind gusting between 45 and 55 mph. The chance of precipitation has declined, with a 20 percent chance for this evening.