Fairfield lifts restrictions as Henri hits farther east

Photo of Katrina Koerting

FAIRFIELD — Officials have lifted restrictions, but are still advising caution after Henri’s impact in town was not as bad as expected.

“We are pleased to see overnight the storm track for Henri shifted farther to the east,” First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick said Sunday afternoon. “As a result, storm impacts in our area are less serious than the National Weather Service and the state of Connecticut guidance indicated last night.”

Saturday’s forecast had called for “tropical force winds” by daybreak Sunday, prompting the town’s Emergency Management Team to recommend a number of precautions, which were generally lifted early Sunday afternoon when winds of that strength didn’t materialize.

“As a result, we have not seen tree damage, power outages and coastal flooding as we anticipated,” Kupchick said.

Members of the town’s Community Emergency Response Team, as well as the school board and animal control, had set up a pet friendly relocation center at Fairfield Warde High School, which was also serving as an emergency shelter and charging station. Officials closed it at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The evacuation route parking ban in the beach area was also lifted at 1 p.m. Sunday.

“Many Fairfield residents have heeded our warnings and already moved their vehicles to higher ground,” the fire department posted Sunday morning along with a picture of a full Metro-North parking lot. “The north side of the Fairfield train station shows the results.”

The department’s high water vehicle was also ready to go Sunday morning in preparation for the first round of high tide, which also didn’t bring as much flooding as originally anticipated around midday.

“We have reached the morning high tide (11:52) with minimal flooding,” the department announced early Sunday afternoon.

Though the winds won’t be as bad as originally thought, the town is still expected to get about four inches of rain through Monday, which could cause some inland flooding in low lying areas, Kupchick said.

“Strong wind gusts are still expected this afternoon along with periods of very heavy rain and roadway flooding is likely,” Kupchick said. “Tree and limb damage may cause some isolated power outages.”

She said Stratfield area and Rooster River Watershed residents should continue to monitor the weather and rainfall projections. She also advised people to monitor the tides in the Fairfield Beach area though significant flooding was no longer anticipated.

“We are relieved that the worst of the storm did not materialize for our area and appreciate the responsible approach our residents have taken in response to the forecast,” the fire department said.

For true emergencies, please dial 911. To reach UI, dial 1-800-722-5584 or visit uinet.com. For storm information please visit www.fairfieldct.org/storm.