First, Patrick Howes heard a creaking and a snapping. The willow trees across the street on Groton Long Point Road fell along with the power lines.
The lights went out. Then a couple of hours later, he heard another snap, and a branch from the large tree in his side yard splintered away and fell toward the house. Then the fence in his side yard went.
“It’s not as bad as I thought it would be,” said Howes, using a chain saw to try to clear the debris Tuesday. The branch missed his house, thought he’d been more concerned about the storm surge than wind. “I wasn’t expecting the wind damage,” he said.
Jeff Williams, deputy director of the Department of Emergency Management, said Groton was still assessing the damage from Hurricane Sandy, but it seemed evenly distributed throughout the town. Neighborhoods including Bailey Hill and Groton Heights had similar damage, with fallen trees, power lines down and broken shingles, but little structural damage to homes.
Other areas saw flooding including Groton Long Point, Noank, Fort Hill, Poquonnock Road, River Road and Main Street in Mystic.
Brian and Ellen Turley, who live on Seneca Drive, said the first tide came up over their peer and lapped at the grass of their yard. The second tide lifted the pier, moved it, and advanced the water another 60 feet. Their house is set back from the water about 150 feet.
“The storm surge was serious,” Brian Turley said.
Debbie Abad, of Burrows Street, said she stayed in her basement. She was afraid the trees were going to crash through the windows.
“(The wind) was like growling, sometimes whistling,” she said.
Groton Schools were closed today.
Williams said the Groton Senior Center was open through the night Tuesday as a temporary shelter for people still without power. No decision had been made as to how long it would remain open, he said.
“Right now we’re just playing it day by day, and we’ll reassess tomorrow,” he said Tuesday.
Connecticut Light & Power reported 4,837 people still without power in Groton as of 8 p.m.
Williams said the utility was dealing first with 911 calls from people who need power to operate medical devices, like nursing homes, then would look at restoring other homes. He said CL&P did not have a timeline yet as to when power would be restored.