Official: Henri was ‘really a non-event’ in Wilton

Wilton Police Capt. Rob Cipolla.

Wilton Police Capt. Rob Cipolla.

Stephanie Kim / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — Despite ample preparation, Henri, a tropical storm that was downgraded to a tropical depression, posed little threat to the inland Fairfield County town and was deemed “really a non-event,” a town official said.

Police Capt. Robert Cipolla was heading the emergency ground unit for response Sunday to the storm that was a hurricane before making landfall in Rhode Island.

“In terms of (Sunday), we had just two incidents (of) trees on wires situations,” Cipolla said.

Going into the storm, the major area of concern for the town was power outages due to wind and downed trees or tree branches.

In a news release on Saturday, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said that town departments, EMS and the Community Emergency Response Team were all prepared for “a major storm.”

The town also prepared to release information on the availability of indoor cooling and internet access centers to be made available to residents. For the most part, those resources were not needed.

“For power outages, we had just under 30,” Cipolla said Monday. “One cluster affected around 20-plus customers.”

Cipolla added that Eversource, the energy provider for Wilton, was able to rectify the situation quickly.

“The preparation was there. It is better to be over prepared,” Cipolla said.

Wilton also experienced no road closures as a result of the storm, as the captain said the winds “weren’t that great.” The department did have a few trees come down on Monday but the situations were “very mild” and were cleaned quickly.

The effects of Henri were significantly less severe than 2020’s Tropical Storm Isaias, Cipolla explained.

“After last year’s tropical storm, we saw weeks of cleanup,” Cipolla said. While there may still be some downed branches sporadically seen throughout Monday, most of the town has been cleared.

Wilton did also benefit from having a few days of advanced notice to prepare for the storm and have appropriate staffing in place. Cipolla said that “sometimes, it is impossible to have enough resources,” but in scenarios such as this, he stressed that it is easy to feel comfortable about the preparation “because we weren’t really impacted.”

Cipolla stressed that he will continue to always keep in mind the safety of his officers when assigning patrols during a storm and added that clear communication with Eversource was key over this past weekend.