As extreme weather continues to affect people in the Caribbean, Florida and across the world, we take a look back to six years ago when Hurricane Irene slammed into Fairfield’s shoreline.

Hurricane Irene was a Category 3 hurricane that weakened to a tropical storm by the time it hit Connecticut. Nevertheless, it wreaked havoc along the coast, particularly in East Haven, Milford and Fairfield. Thirty-five communities were declared disaster areas, eight people died and 132 homes were destroyed.

It was late August of 2011 when Irene made her way to our area, and the Town of Fairfield took many precautions. Buoys at Fairfield’s public beaches were pulled from the water and residents were asked to remove their boats from South Benson Marina. In addition, Fairfield University delayed its student move-in day and freshman orientation schedule because of the storm.

Along Fairfield Beach Road, in the Ash Creek area and on Harbor Road in Southport, flood waters from Long Island Sound rose and covered ground up to a quarter of a mile from the shoreline. Several homes were severely damaged by the storm and falling trees.

The following year, in October of 2012, Superstorm Sandy hit Fairfield, causing greater damage than any hurricane in the U.S. other than Katrina at that time. Its destruction totaled $1 billion in Connecticut. Towns along the western Connecticut shoreline were hardest hit, including Fairfield, where nearly 1,000 homes (the highest number in the state) were flood-damaged, and 5,000 citizens were evacuated. Six homes washed out to sea and more than two dozen were later condemned. Sand buried main roads and spread nearly a half a mile in from the shore.

The Fairfield Museum is a dynamic nonprofit museum, library, cultural arts and educational organization founded in 1903 that provides families in Fairfield County and beyond with a wide array of exhibits and educational programs that teach regional history, celebrate a shared heritage, and prepare students and adults to be more active participants in their community to plan for a better future. Located at 370 Beach Road, the Museum is open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Members of the museum and children under 5 are free. For more information, call 203-259-1598 or visit

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The year Hurricane Irene slammed into Fairfield’s shoreline.