Northwest corner town officials were taking stock Monday as Tropical Storm Henry continued to dump inches of rain around the state — 4 to 8 inches in some areas — but said the area largely escaped serious damage.
“There’s been nothing significant reported,” said Torrington Police Chief William Baldwin. “But people still need to pay attention to local weather forecasts, and reports on local road conditions.
“Obviously, don’t don’t travel over water-covered roads — if you see a flooded area, don’t drive through it,” Baldwin said. “More problems or issues might come up because it’s still raining. And if you see someone stranded with their four-way flashers on, notify your local authorities for assistance, so we can help them.”
Baldwin also noted that people still needed to take storm warnings seriously.
“I worry about people not taking the next warning seriously because of this,” he said. “We have to take each one seriously. Even though this didn’t produce what was expected, we ‘re not going to dodge a bullet every time. We have to be ready for the next one, too.”
Torrington Mayor Elinor Carbone said she met with police, fire, ambulance and public works staff early Monday for a conference call with state officials, and “police, fire, Trinity Ambulance and public works” were working “together to deploy resources for felled trees, downed lines and flooding.”
“Even our CERT volunteer Chris Beyus dropped by to assist logging in the calls. A big debt of gratitude goes out to this team,” Carbone said.
According to Al Lara, media relations specialist at Eversource, Litchfield County fared much better during Tropical Storm Henri than had been expected.
Most of the towns in Litchfield County reported power outages in the single and double digits, according to Lara, as of Sunday night.
When “the storm came up to Litchfield County, it had lost a great deal of its energy and it had become strictly a rain event,” Lara said. “Once it really got that far to the state, it really had no longer posed a risk for us in terms of damage caused by wind.”
He added, “Honestly, we thought we were going to be rebuilding you guys about 24 hours ago.”
Kent First Selectwoman Jean Speck said the area was lucky with the way the storm tracked as it made landfall. The storm made landfall in Rhode Island Sunday afternoon.
“I’m grateful our community took preparedness efforts seriously during pre-landfall — it’s a great reminder of how important it is to always be prepared as we continue through hurricane season,” she said.
She added each time there is report of a possible weather-related incident, many groups and individuals are responsible for ensuring the safety of residents.
“I want to thank all of our emergency management partners that come together in these large events,” Speck said.
Speck noted there “is an enormous amount of planning and work that goes on behind the scenes ahead of these events and they work together to help keep our residents safe.”
She said this included emergency department leaders , “who do a great job utilizing so many resources to get the best data available to guide overall planning and coordination during these events, and are heavily engaged with State DEMHS partners.”
Also, she said, there was Eversource and all the utilities. to the Community Emergency Response Team that was “already leaning forward to stand up and staff a charging/cooling station” and the Kent Volunteer Fire Department team, “who performed equipment checks and scheduled officers.” as well as the EMS team “who reached out to our staffing company to ensure staff, and reviewed wellness check plans for our most vulnerable residents.”
Torrington Fire Department Lt. Mark Garrison and his team were called out to Friendly Hands Food Bank, which had some inside flooding. “We got it taken care of,” Garrison said.
“We had a clogged gutter, of all things, and it just rerouted that water, and it started coming in through the floor,” said food bank Executive Director Karen Thomas. “We moved the freezers out of the way and got it cleaned up. Nothing was lost, so it’s all OK.
“The fire department was awesome, they took care of it,” Thomas said. “They were there five minutes after we called them.”
Garrison said it was “relatively quiet” at about noontime. “The roads don’t appear to be busy,” he said. “It’s little lighter today for a Monday.”
Lara said that, as far as road blocks and downed wires, in Torrington, Norfolk Road at Brady Hill Road was blocked by a fallen tree that took wires down. Additionally, a fallen tree took down wires at South Main Strett at Lincoln Avenue and Scoville Street.
In Barkhamsted, a tree that fell on wires also blocked Route 219 at the Hartland town line, Lara said.
He said that the reason the storm meandered, is that hurricanes and tropical storms feed off warmth, and once the storm got into cold waters, it started losing energy.
“It just lumbered and then the greatest risk was that it wasn’t going anywhere and it was just going to rain on the state for a few days and completely water log us,” he said. “But in the end it finally went back to the original forecast that most people were talking about four or five days ago — and that was a storm coming in from the southeast.”