Connecticut Shoreline Reflects on Major Storms as Harvey Batters Texas - NBC Connecticut

Connecticut Shoreline Reflects on Major Storms as Harvey Batters Texas



    People in East Haven who lost their homes during Irene and Sandy look back at the devastating storms as they keep Harvey victims in their thoughts.

    (Published Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017)

    The images of the widespread flooding in the Houston area from Harvey are reminiscent to what Connecticut experienced in the past decade from Irene and Sandy.

    Some people who live on the shoreline said they know what it is like to see their homes flooded or destroyed from a significant weather event.

    "More than just the small street we have here in East Haven," Janine Jennings said. "There’s millions of people in Houston that are getting hammered, it’s going to be difficult."

    Jennings’ home survived, but the first floor flooded during both major storms in 2011 and 2012. She said the water reached about three feet high.

    "The neighborhood has really evolved and changed and kind of grown and improved since people renovated their homes," Jennings told NBC Connecticut.

    While Jennings' home required repairs two years in a row, her neighbor’s house needed even more extensive renovations after Irene.

    "Just totally took half of the house," Dean Spino said. "Chopped half of the house up and everything went."

    Spino’s father chose to rebuild and raise the house about 15 feet off the ground. The flood prevention measures were quickly put to the test when Sandy slammed into the shoreline community about a week after the renovations were finished.

    "We raised homes down on Cosey Beach Avenue and when the second storm Sandy came through none of those homes got damaged," East Haven Mayor Joe Maturo said.

    On Tuesday, Maturo met with town emergency personnel and United Illuminating officials to review how they would respond to a severe storm hitting East Haven during this hurricane season.

    "Who is responsible for what, how many crews they have will in town, and so forth and so on," Maturo said. "We exchange emergency phone numbers."

    Jennings said she feels for the many Texas families that will need to rebuild their homes after Harvey.

    "Took a lot of their saving, in addition, you can’t just count on insurance to help you, you got to put a little bit more in," Jennings said of her neighbors who had to rebuild.

    As this week marks six years since Irene slammed into Connecticut, the historic natural disaster in Texas is still unfolding.

    "My prayers are definitely going out to them because I’ve been seeing it, it's bad," Spino said. "It’s really, really bad, you know, all you can do is pray and donate if you could because that helps a lot of people."

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