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Spot Flooding, Tree Hits Moving Car in Downpour [UPDATE]

Sunday's downpour hit the usual flood-prone spots in town—under the Post Road railroad bridge, Heights Road and Intervale Road—and felled a tree on a moving SUV, although the resulting injuries were considered minor.

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Update 2:34 p.m.:

Darien police received numerous flooding reports from around town when Sunday's downpour hit late in the afternoon, including at least three vehicles partially submerged in water.

Other than the injuries to the driver of an SUV on Talmadge Hill Road, police said, no injuries were reported in any incident related to the storm.

Reports of wires down, flooded streets, burglar and fire alarm activations and power outages cam in so fast that most of them were not documented by incident reports, Capt. Frederick W. Komm, a department spokesman, wrote in an email.

Police, the town Department of Public Works and town fire departments typically work together to closed off some flooded areas, Komm said. The low part of Heights Road and the railroad underpass flooded quickly Sunday and were each closed, he said.

The vehicle under the railroad bridge (in pictures attached to this article) likely was the subject of a 5:49 p.m. call, Komm said, but he added that he had no further information on that incident. At 6:07 p.m., reports of Heights Road flooding came in, and reports came in at about 6:22 p.m. of flooding in the area of Stanley and Chester roads.

Update 1:33 p.m.:

A Florida woman was injured on Talmadge Hill Road when the thunderstorm on Sunday caused a tree to fall on the roof and windshield of her car as she drove on Talmadge Hill Road.

The woman's injuries were not life-threatening, according to Darien police, but New Canaan EMS took her to Norwalk Hospital for observation.

The woman was driving a 2009 Land Rover eastbound on the road where it approached Mansfield Avenue when the tree fell, police said.

Update 1:28 p.m., Monday:

Sunday's flooding in a few spots around town wasn't something the town is prepared to prevent, in most cases, but it does try to monitor the flooding and prevent drivers from getting stuck, First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said

About 3.5 inches of rain fell in town over a 90-minute period Sunday, Stevenson said Monday.

That's an amount that exceeds the 100-year flood level and too much for drainage sewers to handle at once, either on the Post Road, underneath the railroad bridge, or at the low point on Heights Road. Both of those spots flooded late Sunday afternoon.

One-hundred-year flooding events have been happening much more frequently around town in recent years.

"In the middle of an event like that, the town is not able to mitigate what is happening," Stevenson said. On an ongoing basis, the town does try to minimize flooding by making sure catch basins are free from debris.

Whenever heavy rains threaten to flood those regular spots on Heights Road or the Post Road, Town Highway Supervisor George Swift keeps in touch with Darien Police to keep them informed about places where roads might need to be closed, Stevenson said.

Town officials do expect to fix the flooding on Intervale Road, a part of which  flooded again on Sunday, Stevenson said.

The railroad bridge over the Post Road was recently renovated, and drainage improvements were made, but the project wasn't intended to fully fix the longstanding flooding problem under the bridge, she said. "It's better, but it's not perfect."

Town officials have said in the past that possible town projects to remove the flooding appear to be too expensive.

Original article, Sunday:

The thundershowers that crashed down on lower Fairfield County late Sunday afternoon are leaving a trail of felled trees, downed power lines and in some places, hundreds without power.

Pictured above is one vehicle that became submerged in the Post Road underpass at the Metro-North intersection with Route 1 downtown. At last count, 32 Darien homes were without power, according to Connecticut Light & Power. The utility is reporting scattered outages throughout southwestern Connecticut, including 872 powerless in Stamford—down from 1,714 just one hour earlier.

Harrowing details of vehicles crashing and becoming stuck in the flash flooding have poured in from surrounding towns, including one case in Norwalk where a pregnant woman and small child were removed by police from a partially submerged car. Reports also have come in of waters so deep on Interstate 95 between Exits 16 and 17 that cars were turning around on the highway.

Further away, officials are reporting that Interstate 84 westbound has been closed between exits 10 and 9 near Newtown due to a multi-vehicle accident.

Metro-North Railroad is reporting good service on the New Haven line with delays on the New Canaan branch. Reports have emerged of downed trees and live power lines in the area of Talmadge Hill and on Old Stamford Road (Rte. 106) behind Waveny Park.

The National Weather Service says more showers are likely this evening with more thunder before midnight, then scattered rain and thunderstorms before down. Monday is expected to be mostly sunny with a high near 85 degrees, the NWS says.

Editor's note: This article originally was published on Sunday. The time stamp has been changed for layout purposes on the Home page of Darien Patch.

David Gurliacci (Editor) July 15, 2012 at 11:57 PM
On Facebook, Sean McEvoy wrote: "All that recent construction and they still can't fix the flooding problem?" (That Facebook comment appeared under a link that's now been deleted for technical reasons, so Sean McEvoy's comment under it is no longer there.)
David Gurliacci (Editor) July 16, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Thanks for the photos, Sheryl Shaker, John M and Bernard de la Rivera.
Ali July 16, 2012 at 03:12 PM
I completely agree. Is the town just waiting for another lawsuit to be filed before they act? Let's fix this problem. Yes, the new beach concession stand is lovely, but being able to drive down Route 1 during a rainstorm is important (same for Noroton Heights).
David Gurliacci (Editor) July 16, 2012 at 06:22 PM
This article will be featured this afternoon during the "Patch on PIX" segment of the 5 p.m. newscast on WPIX-TV, Channel 11.
not2bdenied July 17, 2012 at 03:38 AM
The town again has done nothing to deal with flooding. Merchants, resident, and the BOS have done nothing the past three years to address this problem.
Richard Frascone July 17, 2012 at 02:06 PM
When are we gonna be honest with each other? This is the cost of global warming. Has anybody noticed the flooding in India, Russia, etc..........The fact that 200 year old covered bridges, that stood the test of time in Vermont, couldn't stand up to the test of global warming. and were swept away. Has anybody noticed that the 99-cent cantalopes are now 2 for $5.00? We're paying for global warming right now, get use to it.

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