Despite a record number of power outages caused by this weekend’s rare October snowstorm, town officials said Monday that Manchester was handling the situation about as well as it possibly could.
The town moved its emergency shelter to Manchester High School, 134 East Middle Tpke., late Sunday because the original shelter at the Manchester Senior Center received more than 150 people, which was beyond its capacity. Eileen Faust, the director of the Manchester Senior Center who also serves as the manager of the town’s emergency shelter, said that the shelter housed 188 people Sunday night, and that the current plans are to keep the shelter open indefinitely until residents no longer need it.
Monday, there were still more than 100 people at the shelter, some who just stopped by to charge their cell phones and other electronic equipment, others hoping to take a shower, and many appeared to be settling in for another night at the facility.
Faust asked people who might need shelter to come directly to the high school, and to bring bedding such as pillows and blankets, a clean towel for showering, and medication or special dietary requirements if needed.
Fire Chief Robert Bycholski said at about 1 p.m. Monday that things were running “very, very smoothly at the shelter.”
“Outside of drills, we’ve never really had these type of numbers to deal with before,” Bycholski said.
Although a large tree damaged by the storm was still visible in front of Town Hall Monday, the building was open for business and Town Clerk Joseph Campeso said that many residents were coming in inquiring about the status of Halloween.
“A lot of people are coming in today asking if we’ve cancelled Halloween,” Campeso said. “Like we’re the ones who decide that?”
General Manager Scott Shanley said that although the town can’t order people to stay home on Halloween, he strongly advised against any residents going out trick-or-treating tonight.
“There’s just too much danger with downed wires and icy sidewalks and dangling tree limbs,” Shanley said. “We don’t think it’s advisable to go out in these conditions.”
Shanley said that he was in contact with Connecticut Light & Power officials Monday and that there were several crews in town working with town staff to clear roads and remove downed wires, but that the utility had not given him any idea when power might be restored.
As of 3:10 p.m. Monday, Connecticut Light & Power was reporting that approximately 25,221 electrical customers out of 28,644 in town, or roughly 88 percent, were still without power. Click here to see CL&P’s full outage map.
CL&P is asking customers who wish to report or check on the status of an outage to visit its website, cl-p.com or call 800-286-2000. You can also follow the company’s updates on Twitter @CTLightandPower or on Facebook at Facebook.com/CTLightandPower. Updates are also available on outages by texting “outage” and your zip code to 24612.