High winds and rain cause major disruption

It wasn’t a hurricane or even a nor’easter, but a rainstorm with high winds Sunday dumped nearly five inches of rain on Wilton, causing a mudslide on an embankment of the Metro-North Danbury line, knocking down trees and causing more than a dozen local roads to be closed. Power was out for as many as 1,572 Eversource customers, some for more than 40 hours. As of Wednesday morning there were still 18 homes without power.

It was the worst storm of the year, damage-wise, said police Capt. Robert Cipolla.

Metro-North reported that train service on the Danbury line had been out all day Monday because of a mudslide on the embankment in Wilton between the Wilton Center and Norwalk Merritt 7 stations. The mudslide was noticed at 10:30 p.m. Sunday. By 4 p.m. Monday, the tracks were cleared and declared safe, and arrangements were made for trains to come back to the station from Norwalk, via the New Haven line, for the evening rush hour. However, Metro-North also indicated that service into New York City in the evening would be run by bus service, as it had been during the day.

There were still power outages and about half a dozen roads closed Tuesday morning. A list of addresses with power outages on the town website, wiltonct.org, showed a number of homes without power for more than 37 hours.

“I’m still waiting for more definitive times for restoration,” First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice said on Facebook. She urged residents without power to contact Eversource or her office and said she would reach out to the utility.

Hardest hit seemed to be homes on Sturges Ridge, Seir Hill, and Thunder Lake roads, although homes on Twin Ponds, Canterbury Lane, Millstone Road, Catalpa Road, Little Brook, and Boulder Brook also suffered significant outages, of 20 hours or more.

A number of people complained about a lack of communication from Eversource, and Mitch Gross, a spokesman for the utility, confirmed there were issues with communications, including a texting service offered to customers. He said they were resolved as of Tuesday.

When asked about the issue of communications with Eversource, Vanderslice told The Bulletin, “The communication between the town departments and our Eversource representative has been good, as our representative has been responsive.

“The communication between Eversource and residents has not been good. Residents have complained of receiving no information, conflicting information and incorrect information. We used our channel to provide residents with information or advocate for assistance.”

Gross also confirmed that power must sometimes be cut during repairs. By 3:02 p.m. Monday, Eversource reported there were 1,572 power outages in Wilton, up from 251 in the morning.

“Yes, we sometimes have to cut power to additional customers to safely complete repairs. The outage map numbers may also occasionally increase as customers report outages … for instance, if they have been away and return home to find they are without power,” Gross said.

Also, Wilton Library suffered an outage of its wi-fi service, meaning that online catalogs and the computer network were not available. The library remained open, though, inviting people to use its other resources. The problem cleared Tuesday by 3:25 p.m.

Police reported that local roads closed during and after the storm on Monday because of fallen trees and power lines included Kent Road, Chipmunk Lane, Canterbury Lane, Hurlbutt Street, Linden Tree Road, St. John, Hickory Hill, Spectacle Lane, Kellogg Drive, Carriage Road, Forest Lane, Signal Hill Road, Scribner Hill Road, Sugar Loaf, Malcolm Road, and Ridgefield Road, and branches were down on Whipstick Road, High Ridge Road and Pelham Drive.

Wilton schools were closed Monday because of the number of road closures but reopened on Tuesday. A parents meeting at Middlebrook in the evening was rescheduled to Nov. 2 at 7 p.m.

The YMCA called off morning classes because schools were closed, but afternoon classes were on as usual.

Top wind speeds, according to the National Weather Service in published reports, were measured at 65 mph in Stamford.