Storm causes serious flooding in Milford

Saturday’s storm caused the worst flooding in Milford since Storm Sandy in 2012, local officials said, following a weekend of waiting for roads to empty of standing water.

Milford’s Public Works crews were out most of Saturday night clearing storm drains to help empty roads after Saturday’s nor’easter caused serious flooding along much of Milford’s low-lying areas.

With high tide at 1:25 p.m. Saturday, waters were flooding New Haven Avenue, East Broadway, Gulf Street and other parts of the city in the early afternoon and into mid-afternoon.

“All the usual spots flooded, but there was much more water,” said Fire Chief Douglas Edo.

Edo said the timing of the highest tide cycle at 7.8 feet, plus the astronomical tide — full moon — combined with the east winds really pushed the water. “But luckily the strongest winds missed Milford,” Edo said.

Basements flooded and many roads were closed, and by Sunday afternoon there was still water on the roads in the Bayview Beach area, he said.

Along East Broadway at the peak of the high tide Saturday, several homeowners stood outside as the water from Long Island Sound flowed over the roadway and down along side streets.

On Broadway, which is on the other side of Silver Sands State Park, conditions were much the same. The owners of the Costa Azzurra Restaurant were outside as the waves pounded the seawall behind the restaurant. The force of the tide had ripped up a portion of the parking lot, sending gravel and rocks spewing, and the owners were shoveling the debris away. The damage here isn’t as bad as it was during Irene and Sandy, “but it’s pretty bad,” said one of the men clearing the stones and debris.

Broadway was taped off to motorists just past Bertrose Avenue because the road was under water at about 3 p.m. Outside the Wildermere Beach Congregational Church, water filled the parking lot, reaching several inches up the tires of the cars parked there.

And all along Broadway at about 3 p.m., as the rain fell relatively softly and the wind gusted, the repeated pounding of the tide could be heard as waves crashed against the shore.

Jennifer Ruspini, who owns a cottage on Bayshore Drive in Bayview Beach, said she got water in her kitchen. It came in from the marsh behind her house. While the water had receded from her kitchen by about 3 p.m., her back yard, once gravel and grass, was still a sea of water.

She pondered the idea of elevating the small cottage, which she has only owned for a year. But she wasn’t terribly upset about the day’s drama. “When I purchased the house, I understood this could happen,” she said.

Bayshore Drive was still impassable late Saturday, though some motorists did venture through the water. Mayor Ben Blake said one person had to be rescued from a car stranded in high water in Cedar Beach earlier in the day, but other than that he did not know of any rescues.

The mayor said the city sent an alert Friday night advising people to move their cars to higher grounds, and he thinks most people did so. The city set up barricades in many areas of the city, including Gulf Street in front of Gulf Beach, which one resident said was severely flooded at high tide.

The Hillside Avenue area, which has been hit hard by past storms, received “some heavy wave action,” Chief Edo said.

Not everyone along the shore was fighting the tide Saturday afternoon. At the end of Naugatuck Avenue, several children darted along the shoreline, running and laughing as the waves rushed in. As they played, and as their parents watched, one of the mothers talked on the phone to a relative who was trying to drive to the area but was being turned away by flooded and blocked roadways.