Hurricane Harvey prompts look at storm preparedness in Connecticut

<p>Western Connecticut is no stranger to major flooding, but is the region any better prepared for the next big storm is the main question.</p>

News 12 Staff

Aug 29, 2017, 4:53 PM

Updated 2,459 days ago

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Hurricane Harvey-related flooding in Texas is evoking memories of Superstorm Sandy in western Connecticut, where officials across the region say they've since made improvements.
After Sandy, homes in Seaside Park in Bridgeport were completely underwater.  So was a power plant that serves hundreds of thousands of people.
"This was an area that was particularly hard hit in Hurricane Sandy," says David Kooris, the state's head of Disaster Resilience.
Bridgeport recently received $50 million from the federal government to build a giant berm around the plant and to raise the roads up by as much as 10 feet. Those changes make the city more prepared for the next big storm, Kooris says.
And in Woodbridge, a new micro electrical grid will keep power flowing to emergency services.
Fairfield received $2 million to protect its water treatment plant, and many homes around Fairfield Beach have been elevated to mitigate flood damage.
"The vast majority of the physical work that has taken place thus far has been home raisings or fortification of individual buildings," Kooris says.
All of those improvements will help against another storm like Sandy or Hurricane Irene, but a larger storm raises more questions.
"I think we're ready right now, based on our capabilities," says Scott Appleby, Bridgeport's emergency management director. "I mean, anything can happen."
In the face of a massive storm surge, Appleby says all lanes of Interstate 95 could be used for northbound traffic, and the city has buses on standby for a large-scale evacuation.
"You don't want everybody -- 3.5 million people -- getting in their cars and deciding to drive all together," he says. "It wouldn't happen."


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