High winds down trees, cause power outages

This tree blocked Newtown Turnpike on Thursday morning due to high winds. —Natalie Ketcham photo

High winds and rain early this morning disturbed some people’s sleep, and the wind took down some trees, blocking several town roads. Redding schools ran on a 90-minute delay due to downed power lines.

Route 58 (a state road) between Cross Highway and Newtown Turnpike was closed around 6 a.m., reported Police Chief Douglas Fuchs, due to trees and wires down from heavy winds.

Connecticut Light and Power Co. (CL&P) must come in first when wires are involved before trees blocking roads can be removed. Tree clearing on state roads is handled by the state Department of Transportation.

Highway Superintendent Jeff Hanson said on Thursday that he got the first notice of trees down on local roads around 6:30 a.m. The call was about a tree partially blocking Newtown Turnpike. His crew was able to remove this tree because no wires were involved. The crew also responded to calls about trees blocking Sanfordtown Road, Orchard Drive and Lime Kiln Road.

“There were a lot of small branches on the road, so the guys are picking these up now,” he said around noon.

Mr. Hanson said this storm “was not anywhere near” the last couple of storms that hit the areas. “Comparatively speaking, this was minor. There were not that many trees down.

As of 11:50 a.m. Newtown Turnpike is passable but some areas are still without power, said Police Chief Douglas Fuchs.

According to Connecticut Light and Power, 14% of the town, or 574 people, are without power.

Mr. Hanson said it is still “fairly windy” so there may be some icing of areas with standing water as the temperatures drop tonight. However, he said the wind is now helping to dry the roads, so he does not expect widespread icing tonight. If necessary, his crew will be spot sanding any icy spots tonight, he added..

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