DARIEN, Conn. – As 2012 draws to a close, The Darien Daily Voice is looking back at some of the top stories of the year.
Hurricane Sandy hit Darien and other surrounding towns Oct. 29, bringing high winds and rain. Trees and power lines were knocked down all over town, and many coastal areas experienced flooding.
Town officials prepared days in advance for the storm, making sure that emergency vehicles had plenty of fuel and that communication lines were in place. The emergency operations center at the new Darien police station was activated, allowing elected officials and emergency personnel to monitor the storm activity and recovery. Residents in flood-prone areas were urged to evacuate before the storm hit and it would be too late to rescue them. An emergency shelter was set up at Darien High School, which at its peak housed 75 displaced residents.
Power outages soared throughout town following the storm. At one point, 91 percent of residents were in the dark. More than 50 roads were inaccessible to emergency vehicles due to downed trees and power lines. Crews from CL&P and the Department of Public Works sprung into action and worked round-the-clock to clear roads and get the power back on.
School was canceled for a week, and the town was forced to cancel Halloween celebrations as well. Several businesses were out of power for days, and some residents were still in the dark up to a week after the storm. Once establishments such as Starbucks and the Darien Library got their power back on, they were flooded with people looking to recharge their phones, check their email, or simply enjoy the heat.
Work wasn’t over once roads were cleared and power was back. Officials estimate that the recovery will cost the town up to $1 million. Several homes were deemed uninhabitable after the storm. The town has filed for assistance with FEMA, and residents have until Jan. 28, 2013 to apply for federal aid.