Trees uprooted, power KO'd as storms wallop Fairfield
Heavy wind and torrential downpours uprooted trees, ripped off branches and flooded streets Saturday afternoon as two fast-moving storms 15 minutes apart roared through Fairfield County.
Wind gusts tore tents off their mountings at the annual Norwalk Oyster Festival and had people grabbing tables and using them as shields to ward off flying objects. Festivalgoers sought safety running through nearly calf-deep muddy water.
The storms hit Fairfield particularly hard, sending firefighters on more than two dozen calls of cars stuck in water, trees and electrical wires blocking roads and lightning strikes setting off alarms at homes and businesses.
A century-old tree on Wakeman Road was uprooted. Its football-field length filled the yards between two homes while its branches covered a car, forcing firefighters to rescue the driver. Another tree landed on a Smedley Road house, damaging the roof and a second floor bedroom ceiling.
A third tree landed on a Barlow Plain Road porch, damaging a gas grill and causing its propane tank to leak.
"This was one heck of a storm," said Assistant Fire Chief George Gomola. "Some sections of town looked like a tornado ripped through it. There were so many trees and wires down that it delayed our efforts in getting to some of the calls."
Zero visibility hampered Bridgeport and Fairfield rescuers trying to help a boat in distress near St. Mary's-by-the-Sea.
At the height of the storm, nearly 1,900 were without power in Shelton and 1,675 in Norwalk.
Shortly before 3 p.m., skies darkened in lower Fairfield County and opened up with torrential downpours.
That lasted until about 4:30 p.m. But 15 minutes later, another line of more powerful thunderstorms came through.
Skies began clearing at about 5:30 p.m.
Stark predicts a sunny Sunday with temperatures in the mid- to upper 70s.