Line of thunderstorms devastates Greater New Milford area

Power outages persist for several days

Power lost during storms of June 9 had been restored to nearly all homes throughout the Greater New Milford area by Monday morning, according to Connecticut Light & Power.

Area communities had been knocked reeling over the weekend from a line of thunderstorms that struck Greater New Milford, toppling trees and downing wires.

"It is possible someone is left without power due to additional damage to their house," Dave Radanovich, a Connecticut Light & Power spokesman said Monday, "and not registering with us as an outage."

"Anybody still without power should call 860-286-2000 and make sure they are registered with us," he added.

In New Milford, 35 roads were closed immediately Thursday following the storm, several in the Carmen Hill #1 and #2 area and on Pumpkin Hill.

Candlewood Lake Road North took a heavy hit as well and was closed into Saturday evening.

"I was out with (Public Works Director) Mike Zarba until 11:30 p.m. Thursday," said Mayor Pat Murphy. "It was scary. The trees that were toppled were giant, some twisted with power lines wrapped within their branches."

The mayor said it was fortunate no personal injuries were reported. Numerous decks had been crushed and houses damaged by downed trees, she noted.

CL & P reported about 40,000 households in the state without power following the storm, including 2,157 in New Milford, 802 in Sherman, 169 in Kent, 371 in Roxbury, 128 in Bridgewater and 148 in Washington.

Storm-related power outages lasted through the weekend. CL & P reported it had 135 repair crews working in the state and brought more in from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio and Michigan.

In the Greater New Milford area, 55 crews from five contractors or utility companies were working over the weekend, according to CL & P spokeswoman Theresa Gilbert.

"Crews are working in staggered 16 hours shifts," Ms. Gilbert said Saturday, "with an eight-hour rest period in between."

Much of CL & P's early efforts were hampered by inaccessible roads. And much of town road crews' work was delayed by waiting for power to be shut off to power lines wrapped in downed trees.

"That tells us it's going to be a rebuild, rather than a repair job," CL & P spokesman Frank Poirot said over the weekend.

In Sherman, private residents were pitching in to get roads cleared.

"A lot of private contractors have stepped up to the plate, helping our town road crew," Sherman First Selectman Andrea O'Connor said Saturday. "We're a small town, tucked away here and we know nobody's going to come rushing in to save us."

Sally Davis, a New Milford resident, said she counted 27 fallen trees and seven downed telephone poles on her Mist Hill Drive block.

On the private New Milford road of Hemlock Ridge, residents brought in private contractors to clear twisted trees blocking the roadway and leaning on homes.

"We're devastated up here," said VonAnn Stutler on Saturday. "Our neighborhood looks like a war zone. Three of the houses have massive trees on them."

"My deck was destroyed by a 125-foot tall oak that was twisted out of the ground and blown over my house," she added.

On Morey Road in New Milford, Democratic mayoral candidate Jeff Winter lost a stand of mature Locust trees he estimated at 80 feet in length at the front of his property and surrounding his house.

"My house was directly in the path and not touched at all," Mr. Winter said. "They all fell out into the street. Neighbors came with chain saws and we cut a path through the downed trees so cars could pass through."

Stop & Shop supermarket on Danbury Road (Route 7) was completely out of ice and bottled water by Friday evening, Mr. Winter said.

By first thing Saturday, the supermarket had restocked, he added.

Schools in New Milford and Sherman were closed Friday, with town officials opening shelters for their residents over the weekend.

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"Our neighborhood looks like a war zone. Three of the houses have massive trees on them."

VonAnn Stutler

Hemlock Ridge resident in New Milford