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Storm Aftermath: Outages Persist

The storm that upended trees and disrupted power to 4,000 homes and businesses in Westport last night has subsided, leaving a sunny day in its wake. CL& P crews worked through the night to restore power, but as of 9:05 a.m., Thursday, the company reported 1,706 homes are still without it, as of 11:05 a.m.

The Senior Center was designated a shelter last night, for those without power, but only two residents availed themselves of the facilities. It was closed at 11 p.m. Sue Pfister said the center would be open late tonight and all are welcome. She anticipates higher usage of the facilities today as powerless air conditioners grind to a halt. Pfister also said they were referring people to the YMCA if they were in need of a shower while waiting for the power to come back on.

At 10:40 a.m. this morning, the Selectman's office and Parks & Rec Director Stuart McCarthy issued a press release saying the Longshore Club pool is closed because it has no power. There was no indication of when power is expected to be restored. Residents can call (203) 227-1718 to check on its status.

Yesterday, a Code Red call to Westporters at 9:45 p.m. contained the following information about the storm: the Town sustained "moderate" damage and CL&P is working on restoring power to those without it. To report outages, call 1-800-286-2000, rather than 911. The Westport Senior Center at 21 Imperial Avenue, has been opened as a shelter.

Winds brought down trees all over Westport, leaving over 4,200 CL&P customers in the dark. A Westport Police Code Red issued at approximately 8:10 p.m. indicated that the Senior Center might be opening as an evacuation center, as more storms are expected to sweep through. In other towns, as of 11 p,m., Wilton reported 2,500 outages, New Canaan, 1,475, and Stamford about 770. "We will deal with these problems will into this evening and well into tomorrow," Mitch Gross, a Cl&P spokesman. told News Channel 12. The United Illuminating Co. reported 3,500 customers without power at 10:30 p.m.

Earlier, the world turned white late Wednesday afternoon as shearing winds drove a wall of rain, engulfing the Westport Library. Trees outside and on Jesup Green succumbed to the onslaught. For several minutes people huddled in the hall, waiting for it to end.

"I just saw unbelievable wind, to the point I couldn't see across the river," said Jim Gosner. Through the storm he was pressed against a glass door, cell phone in hand recording nature's wrath. Occasionally he would pop an arm or his head out the door.

The storm was part of line of severe weather that raked across Lower Fairfield County on Wednesday afternoon and evening, downing trees, knocking out power, toppling trees and dropping heavy rain and hail on the area. The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch that expired at 11 p.m.

Metro-North suspended service on the Danbury line because of a downed tree in Wilton. Downed trees and power outages were reported thorughout Lower Fairfield County. Earlier tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings have expired.

Back at the Westport Library Sandra Lundgren and John Green were standing near another door, discussing the storm when the tree outside gave way. Green saw the sidewalk heave and Sandra, a library employee, watched in awe as it toppled. "I was standing right here, talking about the storm and it just went," she said, before darting off to take pictures for the library website.

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