Hamden schools closed, trees down, roads blocked after powerful - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Hamden schools closed, trees down, roads blocked after powerful storms

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Trees came down on homes during Tuesday night's storms. (WFSB) Trees came down on homes during Tuesday night's storms. (WFSB)
Roads were impassable in Hamden, forcing officials to close schools on Wednesday. (WFSB) Roads were impassable in Hamden, forcing officials to close schools on Wednesday. (WFSB)
HAMDEN, CT (WFSB) -

Following a round of severe weather, schools were closed, some people weren't able to return home and roads were blocked because of downed trees and power lines.

The Hamden Police Department said it responded to a number of public hazards over the past 12 hours, starting Tuesday night.

“I’ve been here for 30 years," said Robert Riccitelli of Hamden. "I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Riccitelli said he was looking out of the front of his Hamden home when he started seeing the trees sway back and forth.

“I said to my wife and son, 'I said we’ve gotta get to the basement,'" he said. "And then two seconds later, you start hearing the trees hit the house and what not."

Throughout the northern section of town, police said several streets were impassable due to fallen trees, low-hanging wires and damaged utility poles.

Five homes were damaged, two of which were on Hill Street. The others were on Shepard Avenue, Sunwood Circle and Westminster Street.

Riccitelli said luckily, his home was not one of them.

“The house on the opposite side of the corner here, the tree went through the roof," he said.

A Channel 3 crew saw progress being made on Johnson Road in Hamden.

Crews have been pushing away debris and cutting back tree branches.

Police are working with the Department of Public Works, United Illuminating and the fire department.

The town was hit hard on Tuesday.

Schools forced to close

Because of the severity of the damage, Hamden schools were closed on Wednesday. They're closed again on Thursday. See other closures here.

Some students at the West Woods School had to stay there overnight because the damage in the area. They were there with adult supervision.

Parents who picked them up on Wednesday morning said the children are part of an after-care program with the YMCA.

“We couldn’t get to them, we couldn’t get to our house, so it was scary, but they were safe and in good hands," said Alyse Sabina, a parent.

Sabina spoke exclusively to Channel 3.

“The most important thing is that everyone is safe," she said.

Sabina explained that the after-care program takes place at the elementary school.

She said even her husband had to stay at a hotel.

“We weren’t able to get to our kids because it happened during the time they were in their after-care program," Sabina said.

The superintendent told Channel 3 that 12 students, a media specialist and the principal stayed at the school overnight.

Sabina said she received the call around 5:20 a.m. on Wednesday that she could pick up her children.

“It was an adventure for them," she said. "So something they’ll remember for a long time.”

Roads impassable

Channel 3 spoke with a man from West Haven who said his wife, daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren had to sleep in cars last night in Hamden.

He was still trying to get to them on Wednesday morning.

"It's unbelievable," said Mario Pereira of West Haven. "Strictly unbelievable. Big house, it's down to nothing almost. They happened to be in the kitchen and living room watching TV and they heard a snap and they just dove into the basement and sure enough the tree came down, took out the living room, kitchen area."

Some people said they decided to park their vehicles and walk to get where they needed to go. They said it turned out to be an easier option.

“There was no way to get up here last night," said Carl Porto of Hamden. "I drove around almost all the back roads. [I] had to go someplace else for the evening.”

Cleanup efforts in the town continued well into the day on Wednesday.

Officials said at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, the Skiff Street bridge will be closed to travel until further notice. The closure is a recommendation from engineers "due to potential structural deficiencies that could make the bridge on unsafe," officials said.

Police said the following roads were closed:

  • Andover Road
  • Ash Drive/Gateway St.
  • Booth Terrace
  • Berkley Court
  • Chatterton Way (Two poles are own, as well as multiple trees)
  • Chestnut Lane
  • Choate Avenue
  • Corene Drive
  • Darley Drive
  • Dunbar Hill Road
  • Dunn Road
  • Fans Rock Road
  • Gaylord Mountain Road
  • Guenevere Court/Joyce Road
  • Hideaway Lane
  • Hillview Avenue/Shepard Avenue
  • Hillfield Road
  • Hotchkiss Lane
  • Johnson Road
  • Julian Drive/Tom Swamp Road
  • Leatherman Drive
  • Mount Caramel Avenue
  • New Road
  • Paradise Avenue
  • River Road/Tuttle Avenue
  • Rocky Top Road
  • Shepard Avenue/West Woods Road
  • Still Hill Road
  • Todd Street
  • Tuttle Avenue
  • Westminster Street
  • Whitney Avenue

For real-time traffic updates, check the Channel 3 traffic map here.

Stay with Channel 3 for continuing coverage.

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