Two years ago today, Connecticut and most of the Northeast was slammed by Tropical Storm Irene.
Irene hit Connecticut at the height of a high tide storm surge on the morning of Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011.
The storm dumped 3.5 inches of rain on the shoreline, with winds between 57 and 63 miles per hour.
Homes were damaged or destroyed in Fairfield, Milford and Stratford. Hardest hit was the Cozy Beach neighborhood in East Haven where more than two dozen homes were reduced to rubble.
More than 500 mostly residential structures were damaged by Tropical Storm Irene in Milford.
One home on Fairfield Beach Road in Fairfield collapsed into the waters of Pine Creek, and eight homes at the end of the road, pounded by the winds and surf, were declared unsafe by building officials.
Stamford saw minimal flooding, but sustained damage to its beaches, marinas and seawalls. Most damage occurred at Cummings Park and Marina, West Beach, Cove Island Park and Holly Pond.
Tropical Storm Irene, once a Category 3 hurricane, caused about $750 million to $1 billion in damage in Connecticut, despite its weakened state.
It also left thousands of people without power.
According to the Connecticut Public Utilities Authority, Irene left 815,000 customers of Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating without power. It took nine days to restore power following Irene.
It was the first of a series of storms that would lash Connecticut.
On October 29, 2011, a freak snowstorm dumped up to 10 inches of snow across the state and a few inches along the coast. That nor’easter left a combined 832,000 utility customers without power. It took 12 days for some people to get their power back.
The power outages caused by Irene and the October snowstorm unleashed a firestorm against the utilities for being unprepared, having insufficient line crews and poor communication.
In particular, Connecticut Light & Power received some blistering criticism for its lack of preparedness for the two storms and for its sometimes slow response following the acts of nature. Jeffrey Butler resigned as CL&P’s chief operating office in November 2011, giving the public a scapegoat for the utility’s poor response to Irene and the October nor’easter.
In October 2012, we got slammed again with Superstorm Sandy and in February this year, a blizzard that dumped up to three feet of snow.
But that’s all history …
Today, we don’t have to worry about tropical storms or blizzards. Instead, we’ll have party sunny skies with a slight chance of showers.
In fact, the National Weather Service says there is a chance of “isolated showers” over the next couple of days.
Yes, “isolated showers,” meaning we may get some rain, maybe not. The chance of precipitation is a low 20 percent.
Here’s the forecast from the National Weather Service:
Today: Isolated showers between noon and 3pm, then isolated showers and thunderstorms after 3pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 84. Calm wind becoming south 5 to 7 mph in the morning. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Tonight: Isolated showers and thunderstorms before midnight. Patchy fog after midnight. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 67. Southeast wind around 6 mph becoming northeast after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Thursday: Isolated showers and thunderstorms after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 85. Northeast wind 6 to 9 mph becoming southeast in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 63. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming light and variable in the evening.
Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. North wind around 6 mph becoming west in the afternoon.
And the weekend? Still looking good.
And, you guessed it … a chance of “isolated showers.”