The day after Irene lashed Cosey Beach, when police had let homeowners back into the ravaged shorefront neighborhood, Andy Weinstein squatted in front of what used to be his summer home.
The bearded Weinstein, who owns Star Tire in West Haven and whose face is known to many people through his television commercials, was stunned.
Behind him, sea water licked the pilings that the house used to sit on. Like some of the other cottages and year-round homes up and down this densely populated beach community, his entire house had been wrenched from its supports and deposited 40 feet away by waves that smashed through the house and washed over the roof.
"See, part of the house must be missing," Weinstein said, peering into the tangle of debris. "This wasn't the front," he said, tapping a support beam. His house had been reduced to a heap of boards, stacked as if a bulldozer had pushed them into a pile. Sitting on top, incongruously, was his daughter Shayna's bunk bed.
"It was my 16th birthday yesterday," Shayna said. She had been putting up a brave front for hours, but then the tears came. Her mother, Page, hugged her.
"A kick in the teeth for her," said Weinstein, of Woodbridge.
A few feet away, Laura Boyer salvaged a few pieces of siding from the collapsed home that had been her family's summer haven for 60 years.
From the New London Day.
This report from the New London Day as well.The latest power outage update from Connecticut Light and Power continues to paint a bleak picture for southeastern Connecticut, which continues to see a majority of its towns at 80 percent or more without power.
As of 11:58 a.m. Tuesday, the towns of Griswold, Lisbon, North Stonington and Salem were still entirely without power; Ledyard was at 99 percent, Montville was at 96 percent and Preston was at 93 percent.
The growing frustration in those towns was not the lack of power, but the lack of information about when power would be restored.
"We did have a liaison (from CL&P) that landed on us maybe a half hour ago," Ledyard mayor Fred Allyn, Jr. said Tuesday morning, "but we haven't yet determined how that's going to help us."
"I'm equally frustrated by not knowing," said Salem First Selectman Kevin Lyden, who added that the town was monitoring its residents who use oxygen and who have other medical conditions to make sure their generators were still working.
"They seem overwhelmed," Lyden said of CL&P. "From what I see of the size of the storm, the size of the damage, it was a very bad storm. I know it wasn't a hurricane, it was downgraded to a Tropical Storm right before it hit here, but it caused a lot of damage to wires."
Lyden said CL&P is "not giving me any dates, not making any promises."
In Griswold. First Selectmen Phil Anthony said he has been calling for information on a plan of action since Sunday. Anthony said he was having a meeting with CL&P representatives at 11 a.m.; it wasn't yet clear what the outcome of that meeting was.
"We're looking forward to an actual plan of operation," Anthony said, "and that's what I've been insisting on since the day of the hurricane. We'll see."
Al Lara, a spokesman for CL&P, said eastern Connecticut is a priority for the company and that this part of the state was among the hardest hit.
"Southeastern Connecticut is a major priority because of the damage we've gotten and identified so early on in the restoration," he said. "Specifically the greater New London area, that's been a very high priority. It's just that there's so much damage in so many different areas, you aren't likely to spot crews in your specific neighborhood."
On day three of the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, and Lieutenant Gov. Nancy Wyman visited Old Saybrook to assess the damage the storm caused in the coastal town.
Power had been restored to dozens of homes overnight, but 68 percent of Old Saybrook residents are still in the dark this afternoon.
At the Emergency Management Center in the basement of Town Hall this morning, where town officials have gathered since Sunday to respond to the storm, Courtney applauded the town's actions.
"It's impressive," Courtney said. "It really is."
The center is outfitted with the latest emergency-response technology. It provides representatives from all aspects of public and emergency service – fire, police, ambulance, public works, social services – with individual computers and serves as a central hub for town officials to figure out the best way to respond to emergencies, said Michael Gardner, deputy director of emergency management and a sergeant with the local police department.
Courtney and Wyman, who earlier this morning dropped by Madison and Clinton to survey the damage there, next went to Old Saybrook High School, where the police department's mobile command center was set up to provide wired and wireless Internet access and charging stations for laptops and cell phones.
Emergency Management Director and Old Saybrook police Chief Michael A. Spera said the town outfitted a standard truck into the mobile police center with minimal cost to the town for something that, bought new, would have cost some $500,000.
The town is also leasing a trailer with eight shower stalls to give residents without water an opportunity to take hot showers at the school. About 100 people showed up to take showers at the high school last night, the first night the trailer was made available to the public, Spera said.
Currently at the Bank of Kev Estate in CT power and phones are out. There is some minor damage to my house but there are numerous large trees that have downed power lines all over my neighborhood. Those trees have yet to be removed and power cant be restored until they are removed. So far there are is no timetable on when those trees will be removed.
Gas stations in town have been flooded with customers, leading to a "gas crisis" Monday that may have led to some price gouging, Spera said. One station was selling gas at $4.55 a gallon, he said.
It looks like power could be out for days.
Having talked with several people in Southeastern CT they tell me that the damage seems far more widespread than 1985 Hurricane Gloria. What is worse is that with power out everyone wants to know what is going on since there has been very little way to get news updates. Most of my phone conversations have been me updating people what the local news outlets are saying.