2007-11-08 / Front Page

Island mostly unscathed by weekend nor'easter

By Dotti Farrington

Rough seas from Saturday's storm tossed sailboats on both sides of the island. These vessels were moored off the Dumplings. Photo by Sam Bari Rough seas from Saturday's storm tossed sailboats on both sides of the island. These vessels were moored off the Dumplings. Photo by Sam Bari The island of Conanicus escaped most of the fury of extratropical storm Noel as it swept through Saturday afternoon and night, leaving many broken tree limbs but just three downed power lines that officials said were cleared in short order. Some marine damage and no human injuries related to the storm were recorded.

Police Lieutenant William Donovan said, "We had our share of calls, especially of trees or limbs in roadways, but no major damage reported. I'd be happy if it were all calm during the storm."

The heaviest damage, for which there is no estimate, was to several boats that broke from their moorings and ran aground. Five boats in Dutch Harbor and one at the East Ferry Town Beach, according to members of the fire department.

Town Public Works Deputy Director Michael Gray had a similar report of the town crews working most of the weekend clearing branches from roads throughout the island, and spending most of Monday chipping and removing the limbs.

The boatyards

Clem Napolitano, at Jamestown Boat Yard on Racquet Road, said he had no bad news to report about the weekend storm. "All I can tell you is how to prevent bad news," he offered. He explained that as soon as the forecasts were made, some days before Noel reached this area, he and his crew "made extra efforts to haul boats in and move some larger ones to better protected areas in Newport."

He added, "We checked and rechecked the lines of those still at their moorings, and the only damage, which was minor, was to my own personal boat… it was the last to be placed." He said the storm also did some minor damage to the boatyard dock.

Napolitano reported he did not get wind and rain readings on his electronic equipment because "the winds were too strong for me or anyone to go up to the roof to replace batteries."

Bill Munger at Conanicus Marine Services echoed Napolitano's report in many ways. "We're feeling pretty good and very lucky about being able to give a good report. The crew did a really bang up job all week before the storm hit. Boats were hauled, the dock was secured and we had minimal issues with the marina," he said.

"But at the shed, we had two sky lights blown off, and some rain came in," he reported. "It blew hard... All I can say is that it blew hard," Munger added, explaining that he had failed to reset his wind and rain gauges, so he did not have a precise report on those aspects of the storm here.

The Newport Bridge

Personnel at the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority said its operations went relatively smoothly, including at the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge, for which equipment recorded gusts ranging from 30 to 70 miles perhour from mid-afternoon to late Saturday. The only incident was a barrel falling off a truck on the bridge and RITBA staff helped reload it without damage or further incident.

Fire department

The Jamestown Fire Department had few calls related to the storm, according to Fire Chief James Bryer. He reported that firefighters responded to calls about three downed electrical wires. He said the department also was called to investigate a report of one flare, but found none and no situation needing attention.

Like bathtub toys Noel's winds and high seas caused at least six island vessels to run aground. Here, boats are up on the shores at Dutch Harbor, East Ferry and off East Shore Road. Photos by Jeff McDonough and Sam Bari Like bathtub toys Noel's winds and high seas caused at least six island vessels to run aground. Here, boats are up on the shores at Dutch Harbor, East Ferry and off East Shore Road. Photos by Jeff McDonough and Sam Bari

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