Norwalk resident Glenn Perschino realized Hurricane Sandy's impact could have been far worse, but standing in the boatyard of the South Norwalk Boat Club, it was easy to see what storm surge can do to the most buoyant of vehicles. Perschino, who is a club member, suspected that the majority of boats that had been hauled out of the water the week before had suffered some damage.
"These were taken out just last weekend," he said, adding that owners were getting ready to prepare their boats for the offseason.
People had gathered by midmorning to help clean up the debris that had been pushed up during the surge, as well as determine the fate of their boats.
Ben Bonomo, of Stamford, was there to check on his boat. He had already come through quite a few scenes of damage, he said, including a tree down across a road in Darien that was causing some traffic headaches.
Fortunately, he said his house had weathered the storm well, but it was a tense evening.
"I kept waiting for something to blow over or break," he said.
Bonomo, who grew up in Norwalk, said he recalled previous storms, going back to Hurricane Gloria when he was in his 20s, but "that was nothing like this," he said.
Perschino pointed to the corner of a building for a visual sign of the effect of Sandy's storm surge. A line marked where the water had stopped, just below a door handle. Inside, the frame captured the difference between the water's level with Last year's Tropical Storm Irene and what had been dubbed the "Frankenstorm." It appeared to be about a foot-and-a-half to two feet higher.
Just down the road, heading away from the water, a South Norwalk Electric and Water utility truck sat at the intersection of Burritt Avenue and Mack Street, as an operator worked on the wires above.
Across the way, Al Jackson, a former Department of Public Works employee for Norwalk, worked to pull the garbage bags, empty plastic containers, pieces of wood and other detritus into a pile. He knew it made it easier and more appealing for the work crews if the pile was organized.
"I've been here for about 17 years and I've seen a few floods, but this is the worse I have seen so far," he said.
His points were reiterated by a neighbor, Jairo Alarcon, who was on his way back from Milford to check out his Norwalk home in the Shorefront Park area. Having already seen the damage caused up the coast, Alarcon, 25, was curious as to what he might find.
He said last year, during Irene, he and his immediate neighbors on either side had avoided getting soaked by Irene, when the flood waters "just missed us."
Jackson and Alarcon were joined by Danny Dominick, who was sure this was the worst he had seen.
"Flood-wise, this is the worse," he said, adding that he has seen storms come through the neighborhood for 40 years. "It has never come as high for as long as I've been here."
Meanwhile, Cullen Prater, who has only lived in his South Norwalk home for about a year, said he was grateful not to have experienced flooding -- a fortune perhaps brought on by the fact that his home is on higher ground than others around him. Still, the wind gusts of late Monday evening to early Tuesday had caused some concern, prompting Prater to spend some time in the cellar.
"We were real lucky, though," he said Tuesday morning, as he regarded the scene from his front yard, where, about 20 feet away, a tree had come down on to a neighbor's yard and wires were down just beyond the limbs.
"It just missed us by a fraction," Prater said.