By Nicole Rivard
At a press briefing this morning, Norwalk Department of Public Works Director Hal Alvord said that all Belle Island residents have no sewer service as the Belle Island pumping station is submerged. The Sammis Street pumping station is on backup power and he anticipates losing that pumping station completely as well.
“People who live in those areas of the city should not be using their toilets or their drain systems because the chances are, at their elevation, the sewage is just going to blow right back into their homes.”
The Sewerage Treatment Plant did not overflow at the midday high tide, but such an overflow is anticipated at the midnight tide. If this occurs it will be necessary to proactively shut down the plant until any flooding subsides and equipment can be dried out.
Alvord was joined by Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia, Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik and Fire Chief Denis McCarthy.
Officials reported that areas of Norwalk were already flooded including Veterans Park. They said to expect full category three flooding, which could mean high tide levels up to six feet above flood stage. Record High Tide is expected at high tide just after midnight tonight.
Gale force winds are expected to continue through the day. Expect near hurricane force winds over water this afternoon, with 60-80 mph gusts. Expect some of these winds to hit coastal areas. Sustained winds are expected through midnight—approximately nine hours of consistent high winds. By tomorrow morning winds are expect to drop to tropical storm velocity and below tropical storm velocity by tomorrow afternoon.
As of noon, officials said 80 people were at the emergency shelter set up at Brien McMahon High School. McCarthy expected more as he reported 3,300 homes are in flood prone zones in Norwalk.
“If you are in a flood prone area evacuate your home by nightfall. Weather will deteriorate rapidly after 3 p.m.,” McCarthy said.
“What we want to impress upon residents is traveling around the city is going to be very dangerous and next to impossible once we start sustaining tree damage,” McCarthy said. “Flood conditions will close a number of roads. As the mayor pointed out the fire department had to assist some people out of their homes because the streets were already flooded.”
He gave the example of a fire rescue boat that helped evacuate a family living in the Harbor Shore area.
“If the winds are sustained at about 50 miles per hour we can’t send our crews out. There’s no way we are going to be able to get to you,” Moccia said.