Storm Elsa causes mudslide in West Haven and flooding in Tweed New Haven

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NEW HAVEN – The city experienced heavy rains and flooding in many streets and along the shore on Friday, as Tropical Storm Elsa swept through New Haven and surrounding communities.

The National Weather Service reported that New Haven received just over three inches of rain between 11:30 p.m. Thursday and about 11 a.m. Friday.

Mayor Justin Elicker said the significant amount of rain, delivered in a short time, was the main challenge posed by the storm.

While the wind largely resisted, the rain caused flooding in typical areas, such as Union Avenue, and less common places, such as the downtown area near Yale New Haven Hospital, said he and the Director of Emergency Management, Rick Fontana.


“We took a real hit from the rain this morning,” Fontana said, noting that about two inches of rain fell between 8:30 am and 9:30 am. “We are lucky. It could have been worse. But the impacts will be long lasting.


At one point, the Tweed New Haven regional airport was inundated with about a foot of standing water, Fontana said.

City engineer Giovanni Zinn said city staff went out on Friday afternoon to assess storm damage, with the aim of repairing the damage in the short term and improving the city’s infrastructure in the long run. term.

There were about 40 calls for service to city police and firefighters during the storm, Fontana said, regarding power outages, fallen branches and power lines.

Elicker said about 300 people lost electricity during the storm; United Illuminating, which had a representative at the city’s emergency operations center, was working to restore power on Friday afternoon, he said.

As the storm unfolded, US Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., US Representative Rosa DeLauro, D-3, and Governor Ned Lamont came to the region and called for greater investment in infrastructure, noting the challenges posed by the storm and the growing threat of climate change.

Blumenthal was at the scene of a landslide on Callegari Drive in West Haven, which temporarily disrupted Metro-North train service.

“If it was necessary to prove the desperate imperative to invest… come here to West Haven,” said Blumenthal. “It’s here.”

Blumenthal noted that the landslide endangered the tracks and therefore the agency’s train network.

He said he would report information and photos of the incident to his colleagues in Washington, hoping to share the urgent nature of the matter.

Blumenthal noted he saw flooding in Bridgeport and Stamford earlier today.

“We need to improve our roads and our bridges, our railroads and our railways,” Blumenthal said. “(The storm) brings him home.”

West Haven Public Works Director Tom McCarthy said crews were called to the scene around 9 a.m., finding that a report of a fallen tree was in fact a landslide.

City crews worked to clean Callegari Drive and Metro-North employees examined the trail, he said.

“The good news is that no one is hurt. People paid attention and reported it, ”West Haven Mayor Nancy Rossi said of the slide. “Something bad could really have happened.”

Lamont spoke about the incident at West Haven station, also saying that, as an example of flood damage, he required additional investment in infrastructure.

“It’s a reminder that resilience is not a summary. Resilience is how we keep our economy running and how we keep it safe, ”Lamont said.

Lamont said Elsa brought more rain, but less rain and fewer power outages than last year’s Tropical Storm Isaias, which cut power for days in parts of Connecticut.

DeLauro noted that the House recently passed the INVEST in America Act, a $ 715 billion transportation bill that would provide about $ 3.8 billion over five years for Connecticut.

“It’s about the safety and security of our community that we look at what we’re spending on infrastructure, so that we can deal with some of these efforts,” DeLauro said.

Elicker and Zinn said climate change is likely to increase the frequency of severe weather events, adding to the need to improve the city’s infrastructure.

“We are going to see more and more of these type of storms, as climate change continues to have a greater impact on the world,” Elicker said, noting that the city was working to strengthen its coastal resilience in the region. Long Wharf and improve drainage by adding bioregolas, among other measures.

Zinn said a typical municipal drainage system can handle a few inches of rain in a short period of time, which can be exceeded. Rising sea levels also decrease the capacity of the drainage system, he said.

“’Water runs down’ is the guiding principle of a storm system, and it basically affects the size of the hill. The bigger and steeper your hill, the faster the water will flow and the more water can flow. If you raise the bottom of the hill, which is the water level in the harbor, your hill gets smaller and smaller, ”Zinn said. “There is a lot less pressure to push water through our pipes. “

Milford received the most rain in the area between 11:30 p.m. and about 11 a.m. Friday, with 4.82 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

According to the NWS, Hamden got 3.07 inches; East Haven received 2.94 inches; West Haven received 2.55 inches; Branford got 2.36 inches.

The Hearst Connecticut Media team have compiled live updates as the storm moves through the area. The racing blog can be found here.

Brian Zahn and Mark Zaretsky contributed to this story. [email protected]


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