Four weeks after Tropical Storm Irene battered Connecticut town officials in Durham are still calculating the cost of the storm, which left thousands without power for several days.
At the height of the outages, 80 percent of Connecticut Light and Power customers in Durham -- residential and business-- were without electricity.
Francis Willett, the town's director of emergency management provided an update on the recovery efforts during the board of selectman meeting on Monday, Sept. 12.
"[Our] volunteer staff of emergency responders really just stepped up," Willett said, before publicly thanking all of the departments that provided assistance during Irene's aftermath, including the department of public works and Regional School District 13. "This is the first time we've had to go beyond a 24-hour operational period. To go almost seven days was a challenge."
Storm cost estimates are between $20,000-$30,000, according to Willett.
The town is in the process of applying for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which could take as long as six months, he said.
Some of the costs will be shared with the Town of Middlefield due to the use of shared services.
Specific costs range from $1,500 for emergency message boards that were used to provide storm updates to the $8,640 spent on the operations of the town's emergency shelter at Coginchaug High School.
The shelter opened at 9 a.m. Monday, within 24-hours of the storm's arrival on August 28.
"We kept it open 24-hours that first day," explained Willett.
The shelter remained open until Friday, Sept. 2. Over the five-day period nearly 500 meals were served and more than 640 people used the shower facilities.
The town also received 627 calls to the storm emergency line over a six-day period.
Willett said while the storm line "worked well," the emergency management department will look at ways of improving the area of communications.
"Our residents want to talk to a human, so we're going to look at a way of improving that storm line," he said.