Life goes on in Ridgefield as storm cleanup continues
RIDGEFIELD — Two thirds of Ridgefield remained without power Friday morning, but life goes on, with pickleballers slamming forehands at each other, the skate park packed with kids, and a couple of people playing tennis in town.
“We got practice after those big storms 10 years ago,” said Ceder Lane resident John Guider, filling bottles at the public water station — a hose beside the electric vehicle charger near the Ridgefield Playhouse front entrance. “I can get in and out, no problem.”
Without electricity, the pumps in his well at home don’t work.
“So, there’s no water,” Guider said.
The town set up water stations at the Playhouse, the Parks and Recreation Center off Danbury Road, and at the Ridgebury Firehouse. People have to bring their own containers to fill with water.
At a pickleball court set up below the basketball net on East Ridge, Sue MacIntee was waiting to get in the next game.
A special hotline for storm related questions has been set up from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For questions call: 203-431-2718. The town set up a second storm hotline — 203-431-2350 — that will be in operation until 5 p.m. Friday.
Outdoor charging stations have been set up in front of Founders Hall, but are very limited. Bring your own wipes, masks and be prepared to wait. This is for charging only. The town is investigating other safe charging options.
The Transfer Station is accepting storm related debris at no cost to residents. All commercial haulers will be charged unless accompanied by the resident.
Do not pile brush on the street. There is no town brush removal program.
The golf course is open with restrictions. Cash only, no electric carts available, no restrooms or other amenities available. Bring your own water.
Police and fire departments are working as a team traveling to neighborhoods via an ATV in the areas where the roads are blocked. They urge all of us to check on our neighbors, especially those that are older or have special needs.
The Fire Department continues to receive numerous calls for CO alarms/poisoning due to improper use of generators. Do not operate your generator in a closed space like a garage or inside your home. Make sure the generator is far enough away from your home with no opportunity for carbon monoxide to seep into the house. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for use.
Do not start your car in your garage for charging purposes. Park your car outside away from windows while charging.
Currently, there are no showers available at Parks and Rec due to COVID-19.
Follow Ridgefield Emergency Management on Facebook for the latest updates. Sign up for CTAlert @ CTAlert.gov. Updates are also available on ridgefieldct.org.
“All week, every day,” she said of the games.”At least 20 people, outdoor drop-in, 9 to 12. ... It’s been very busy. Even with COVID, people are here during the week with masks. I think it’s become a really popular pastime during all of this.”
Phil Fotopoulos was running a camp at the skate park, and had a good turnout of kids on skates and scooters and bikes.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said.
Eversource listed Ridgefield at 65 percent without power — no service for 7,171 of 10,989 customers — on Friday morning, down from the 77 percent without power Wednesday.
“Eversource is making repairs today,” the Ridgefield Office of Emergency Management said on Facebook post Friday morning. “Electrical circuits are being turned off and on to make repairs. People who have power may lose it again for a short time. As power is restored, wires on the ground may become energized, always treat all wires as live.”
Around 1:30 p.m. Friday, Eversource said it hoped to have eletricity restored to most homes in Connecicut by midnight Tuesday.
“Eversource’s army of line and tree crews, including hundreds of out-of-state utility workers from as far away as Canada, Michigan, llinois, Ohio and Indiana, continues making solid progress restoring power to thousands of customers in Connecticut after Tropical Storm Isaias,” the utility company said. “While adhering to strict COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols, crews have restored power to approximately 552,000 homes and businesses.”
Eversource said it “expects to have the vast majority of the remaining 404,000 customers without power back on line by Tuesday at 11:59 p.m.” and many would have power restored “sooner.”
“We recognize how disruptive power outages are to our customers’ lives and we’re urgently working around-the-clock to get every customer affected by Isaias back on line,” Eversource President of Regional Electric Operations Craig Hallstrom said in the statement. “... In addition to restoring service, we continue to focus on working with our communities and public safety officials to clear downed trees and brush and open blocked roads.”
“What a fricking disaster,” said Guider. “And the CEO of Eversource is probably on his way to Cape Cod right now.
In a Friday update issued from the Ridgefield office of Emergency Management, First Selectman Rudy Marconi asked the community for patience.
“Please note that trees with wires cannot be removed until Eversource neutralizes the wires. Some areas that have been restored have experienced power loss again and Eversource hasn’t updated us,” he said. “Please note that the town is aware of the damage throughout our community. With almost every road affected, we ask for your patience.”
Meanwhile, an unusually active hurricane season is likely, according to a revised outlook of the Climate Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
“Atmospheric and oceanic conditions are primed to fuel storm development in the Atlantic, leading to what could be an ‘extremely active’ season, according to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service,” the government’s weather experts said in an Aug. 6 statement.
Tropical storm Isaias, which rampaged through Ridgefield on Tuesday , was among a record-setting nine “named storms” so far in the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.
On average only two named storms have formed by early August, and the ninth named storm doesn’t form until early October, NOAA said
“An average season produces 12 named storms, including six hurricanes of which three become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5),” the Climate Prediction Center said. “The updated outlook calls for 19-25 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 7-11 will become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), including 3-6 major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater).”
The update released by the government Thursday covers the entire six-month hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, and the prediction of 19 to 15 named storms includes the nine that have occurred to date.
But weather experts are expecting more dangerous storms.
“This year, we expect more, stronger, and longer-lived storms than average,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
“This is one of the most active seasonal forecasts that NOAA has produced in its 22-year history of hurricane outlooks,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “...We encourage all Americans to do their part by getting prepared, remaining vigilant, and being ready to take action when necessary.”