How extensive was the damage that Manchester suffered from Winter Storm Alfred?
Well, let’s just say that there wasn’t an area of town Sunday afternoon that was not in some way affected by the storm, from the large tree that had fallen directly in front of Town Hall, to the debris littering the grounds of Manchester High School, to the eerily empty downtown area where most of the businesses were closed due to a lack of power.
As of 7:30 p.m. Sunday evening, Connecticut Light & Power was reporting that approximately 26,471 electrical customers out of 28,644 in town, or roughly 92 percent, were still without power. Click here to see CL&P’s full outage map.
Manchester Public Schools and Howell Cheney Technical High School are closed Monday.
While the emergency shelter at the Manchester Senior Center at 549 East Middle Tpke. reported more than 150 people at about 4:30 p.m., with more people seemingly coming by the minute.
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 was “beyond capacity” and that the town was preparing to open Manchester High School, at 134 East Middle Turnpike, which could accommodate about 2,000 more people.
“We’re at capacity,” Faust said. “But we won’t turn anybody away.”
Faust said that residents who need shelter should call the senior center at 860-647-3211 and they will provide information for people about where to go and what to bring.
Most supermarkets were open in town Sunday, and the area near the mall appeared to still have power, but very few other areas of town did, and there were long lines outside the few gas stations in town that were open.
Manchester Mayor Louis Spadaccini, who was at the shelter for the bulk of the afternoon Sunday, said the damage the town suffered during the storm was “extensive” and that the primary concern was to make sure that all residents had shelter for as long as they required it, than on restoring power and clearing roads.
Spadaccini said that town officials were in “regular contact” with CL&P personal, but that he did not know when power might begin to be restored in town, and that he thought that CL&P crews in town were still dealing with emergency situations like downed or live wires or closed roads.
“Obviously, they’re struggling,” said Spadaccini. “I think they’re still trying to take care of the emergency situations.”
At a at 6 p.m. at the Emergency Operations Center at the State Armory in Hartford, CL&P President Jeff Butler said that the damage from the storm was worse than Irene and that some Connecticut residents should be prepared for a long wait before their power is restored.
“We are encouraging customers to be prepared for lengthy outages of a week or more,” Butler said. “Many will be inside that and we will update those projections as we begin to restore areas.”
Public Works Director Mark Carlino said that Public Works staff performed “extremely well” during the storm and in the resulting cleanup, often times having to deal with hazardous conditions or extreme weather.
“The damage from the storm hit every corner of the town,” Carlino said by email Sunday evening. “When the storm ended this morning, approximately 185 streets were closed or impassable due to downed wires, trees or both. Where it was possible to remove or push trees out of the way, streets were reopened. Most roads however have wires involved that need to be addressed by CL&P crews.”
Carlino said that town staff were working directly with CL&P crews on the “most critical streets,” but that he did not know how long it might be before all residents in town had their power restored either.
“At this time we do not have any estimates from CL&P as to how long the recovery phase will take,” Carlino said. “It is safe to say that the damage inflicted by this storm probably tops both Gloria and the 1973 ice storm.”
Have pictures you want to share from the storm? Send them to Manchester Patch Editor David Moran and he'll add them to the photos attached to this story,email@example.com.