Tropical Storm Isaias arrived in West Hartford Tuesday afternoon, bringing with it wind gusts topping 50 mph.
By Ronni Newton
The streets were eerily dark Tuesday night in many parts of West Hartford, and driving was treacherous with power out and no streetlights or stoplights, but with leaves, twigs, limbs, and even entire trees, with and without attached wires, littering the roadways in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias.
Many likened it to the devastation that followed the October 2011 snowstorm – but without the snow.
“Winds were stronger from this storm than they were in Irene or Sandy locally,” NBC Chief Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan told We-Ha.com. He estimated that gusts reached at least 60 mph in West Hartford.
“It definitely was impressive!” Hanrahan said. “The storm held together remarkably well over land and that is why the gusts were so great even inland.”
As of 10 p.m., Eversource’s Outage Map – which had been down for several hours at the height of the storm – indicated 568,509 customers without power in Connecticut, 44.37% of customers statewide.
In West Hartford, as of 10 p.m., 13,097 customers – 45.466% – were in the dark.
Not only did the wind speeds make it into the record books locally, but Hanrahan said that this storm is in the top five for power outages in the state.
— Ryan Hanrahan (@ryanhanrahan) August 5, 2020
Damage in West Hartford was widespread. “Too early to totally grasp,” Director of Public Works John Phillips said just after 6:30 p.m., as crews were assessing the damage.
“Right now DPW is plotting damage, assessing, and making safe,” he said. Public Works crews can clear trees from roadways, but if there are wires involved they need to wait for utility crews.
At approximately 8 p.m., West Hartford Police reported that there were 56 intersections/roadways in West Hartford impacted by either downed trees or wires, or non-working traffic signals.
— Dan Corcoran (@DanCorcoranTV) August 5, 2020
The northeast quadrant of a tropical system is always the worst in terms of wind damage, and central Connecticut, including West Hartford, got caught right in that spot, said John Lyons, who has become known and respected as the “weather guru” on the Neighbors & Friends in West Hartford Facebook group.
The roar of chainsaws and the hum of generators filled the air Tuesday evening, and as Wednesday dawns the true extent of the damage will be visible.
Eversource has not yet provided any estimates for power restoration.
If you have dramatic storm photos to share, please forward them via email to Ronni Newton at [email protected].
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