Rather than delivering a knockout punch, Friday’s winter storm dealt mostly annoyances and a few hazards to Westerly and surrounding towns.
Flooding in low-lying locations and along the coast was the biggest problem, as the heavy rain pulled out at about 8 a.m. and high tide started to move into the area.
Portions of Elm and Water streets in Stonington and River Road and Mystic River Park were among those flooded Friday morning. Water also inundated parts of Atlantic Avenue in Westerly and Charlestown Beach Road.
The storm caused the most problems in coastal locations in Westerly, Charlestown and Stonington.
“The flooding in the beach area was extreme,” Westerly Town Manager Shawn Lacey said. “There was flooding I haven’t seen since Superstorm Sandy.”
In Watch Hill, Bay Street flooded in the area of the Watch Hill Yacht Club.
“Docks were underwater,” Lacey said.
In Misquamicut, water breached the dunes in many areas and washed under houses on the west end of Atlantic Avenue.
“It crested the road next to the Andrea and through the Pleasant View parking lot,” Lacey said, as well as several other areas with low dunes.
The state beach was unaffected except around the walkways, Lacey said.
“At the Windjammer end it crested at Sam’s Snack Bar,” he said. “The Windjammer had a little bit of washover but the building’s there. They did have a bit of water flow inside the building through the doors on the front, nothing major.”
About two feet of sand ended up on Atlantic Avenue, and the town called in two public works crews with six loaders and backhoes to clear the road.
“The fear is it’s a holiday weekend and there are going to be a lot of people out driving just to take a ride, and they’re going to want to go see what happened,” Lacey said.
About a half-dozen cars became stuck in soft sand Friday morning.
“We’re down there now trying to get the sand and debris out of the roadway,” Lacey said in the early afternoon Friday. On the west end of Atlantic Avenue near the state beach, a pump system that removes water from the roadway worked as expected, Lacey said.
“The end we worry about is the Windjammer end, because there’s no drainage or pump system at that end, so you have standing water in the road,” he said. “The fear is it’s going to get very cold tonight and everything will freeze. We’re hoping it recedes.”
The town planned to keep that area of the road closed to traffic except for residents, he said.
“We’re asking people not to go down there for a ride, let’s all work together here,” he added.
In Charlestown, sand and debris was pushed into the Charlestown Beach Road area. Police asked people to avoid the Charlestown Beach area, Blue Shutters and Quonnie Breachway.
Flooding also complicated a response to a house fire in Stonington.
Fire crews were called out at about 9:30 a.m. to a reported structure fire on Lindberg Road in Stonington, a narrow shoreline road adjacent to Amtrak’s railroad tracks near Lord’s Point.
The residential location of the fire was blocked by waist-deep water, according to reports, and firefighters had difficulty accessing it. Stonington police notified Amtrak to halt rail service along the tracks in order to gain access. A boat also was dispatched, and shortly after 10 a.m. the fire reportedly was under control. Train service resumed shortly after that.
Downed power lines were also reported in multiple areas: Damato Drive in Stonington, Sawmill Road, Maple Street, Chase Hill Road and Mechanic Street in Hopkinton, and James Trail in Richmond were among the roads affected.
A large fallen tree blocked part of Route 184 at the town line between Stonington and North Stonington.
In Richmond, a culvert collapsed at the intersections of Dawley Park Road, New London Turnpike and Tug Hollow Road, police said. The area will be closed for several days until it can be repaired.
Power losses were moderate on Friday morning, with more regions to the north affected than along the coast.
Westerly had full power, with only sporadic outages throughout town according to Lacey.
Richmond had 470 outages out of about 3,600 Rhode Island Energy customers as of 9:30 a.m., the utility reported. Hopkinton reported 84 customers out of 4,000 without power. Just four of Charlestown’s 5,900 customers were powerless.
Across the border, Stonington had 121 of its 11,200 Eversource customers without power, while 149, or 5 percent, of North Stonington was affected.
A cold blast and more wind were expected to move through the area later in the afternoon and evening, with temperatures plunging well below freezing for Saturday.