If you tried to get on WestportNow yesterday around 5 p.m. and, apparently, at times today, you may have had some error messages. That’s because the town suffered some of the worst flooding in recent memory, and potentially worse than the 1992 nor’easter flooding.
About 1,000 people were coming to WestportNow every hour. We normally have 5,000-7,000 hits per day. And many people were coming to WN when the evacuation sirens went off in the coastal areas around 5 p.m. on Sunday.
It was an interesting time for me because I wanted to be on the front lines as a reporter (and photographer) on Sunday, but I was tied to the computer. I had to be vigilant with the updates we were receiving on the potential for coastal flooding and the evacuation. The updates were coming about every hour, and they needed to be posted almost immediately. And that’s why we were getting so many hits. People turned to us to find out what was going on.
What I really wanted to be doing was what I did today. I drove around the Compo Beach area looking for people cleaning up from the storm (and it was eerily quiet) because I wanted the human element to the story.
It was a woman who was stuck in her car in the rising flood waters that brought the human element to the story. I was there when the firefighters pulled her from the car and spoke with her after her rescue. It transformed into a story of which I’m quite proud.
I think the reporter in me is still reigning supreme and I’m not ready to be a full-time editor. It was obvious to me since it took a lot to fight my urge to get out and cover the story yesterday. I was wanting someone else to be posting the updates.
And I don’t think the story is over yet. There are still flooded areas in Westport in the northern areas of town near the Saugatuck River. People are on vacation and will be coming home to houses that may still be flooded this weekend. I’ve heard many times that a reporter can come back to a story later after everyone else has left, and I think this is one of those stories.