Shoreline towns prepare for storm surges expected from Joaquin

STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Today’s rain may not have anything to do with Hurricane Joaquin but it is driving home the importance of being prepared.

Bailey Mahler is adding fenders to boats at Dodson Boatyard in Stonington where the water is higher than usual.

“It is it’s actually extremely high tide,” she says.

That tide is expected to rise even higher if storm surges come ashore in Stonington and all along the shoreline.

Mahler is also doubling up lines to make sure boats don’t break lose or get damaged.

“There are supposed to be some swells and things like that coming through,” says Mahler.

Along with the threat of coastal flooding, heavy rains could also cause brooks and rivers to overflow.

Back in March of 2010 Old Mystic was submerged under water when the Mystic swelled beyond its banks.

The Pawcatuck River was also pushed beyond its limits when dams upriver in Rhode Island failed.

“Rain probably half of Rhode Island is through the Pawcatuck system,” explains Stonington First Selectman George Crouse.

If the rivers rise and there is coastal flooding at the same time there may be few safe places for the extra water to go.

In downtown Pawcatuck there are huge flood gates on Mechanic Street which can block off the area if there is a big storm surge.

The town doesn’t expect it will need to close the flood gates which were built in the 1950’s to protect nearby factories.

The two metal gates have to be reinforced by two thousand sandbags each.

The bags are filled and on stand by. The town also has sand for residents but most hope none of these will be needed.

“Now it seems they’ve decided it’s going to the east and out to sea,” says Crouse who with a laugh adds. “Bye bye, Joaquin, go.”

stonington boat preps 1

stonington boat preps 2

stonington sand bags

pawcatuck bridge

pawcatuck flood gate 1

pawcatuck flood gate 2

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