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Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Day After at Starbucks

By James Lomuscio

As Weston resident Ken Zita powered up his laptop at Starbucks on Post Road East in Westport this morning, he said, “Westport’s looking pretty good.”

“They have a lot of power here,” Zita said, noting that he would later shower at the Saugatuck Rowing Club since his home is on an electric well pump that is not working.

Compared to Weston, 80 percent of which was without power, only 20 percent of Westport’s more than 12,000 Connecticut Light & Power Company (CL&P) customers were off grid this morning in the wake of Saturday’s nor’easter, according to Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury, the town’s emergency management director.

Westport also fared a lot letter than other towns hit by an unseasonable snow storm that dumped inches of the white stuff on leafy branches, causing them to crack with the sound of artillery fire throughout the region. By this morning, 100 percent of Litchfield County was reported to be without power, and in northern Fairfield County, Ridgefield and Redding were 100 percent in the dark.

Still, for Westport’s 20 percent without power, at noon the town opened a warming center at the Westport Center for Senior Activities on Imperial Avenue. Kingsbury said it would remain open until 6 p.m.

Also, the Westport Public Library opened at noon, its parking lot overflowing by 2 p.m. as many residents charged cellphones, plugged in laptops, or used the library’s computers.

Waiting until 1 p.m. was too long for Westporter Tony Joseph of Timber Lane, who headed to Starbucks.

“We lost power about 2:30 yesterday afternoon, and we came here to charge our iPhones,” he said. “This is the second time we’ve had to go through this. With Hurricane Irene we were knocked out for four days.”

Joseph, who came back to Stabucks today to get online, said connections to the Internet were slow because so many others without power had the same idea.

“I was out for six days with the hurricane, and this looks very bad because so many trees are down,’” Zita chimed in. “It was like the Fourth of July hearing the trees snap. I hear the Weston schools are going to be closed Monday and Tuesday.”

As he spoke, there was no indication as to whether the Westport Public Schools would be open. It was later announced the Westport schools would open as usual.

“It’s funny that my brother who lives in Old Lyme didn’t get anything,” Zita pointed out. “He said, ‘What storm?’ They go zero.”

Joseph, who with his wife moved to Westport from Manhattan a year and a half ago, said two power outages in a row are making him skittish about having moved to the suburbs.

“This is the second time,” he said. “I think I’m going to have to get a generator.”

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Posted 10/30/11 at 07:18 PM  Permalink



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