NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – A major storm bringing heavy rain, strong winds, and coastal flooding moved into Connecticut Thursday night, knocking out power for thousands of people.
Approximately 25,018 Eversource and 38 United Illuminating (UI) customers are without power as of 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Strong winds and heavy rain will continue throughout Friday morning. Wind gusts reached 50 mph.
The storm prompted Gov. Ned Lamont to activate the state emergency operations center in an enhanced monitoring status beginning at 7 a.m. Friday. Underneath the status, state agencies like emergency management, homeland security, the department of transportation, and more will be on hand for a virtual emergency operations center link so they can instantly communicate with each other.
Lamont had already activated the state’s severe cold weather protocol, which will begin Friday evening and last until noon Monday. Anyone needing help can call 2-1-1 to find out what resources are available.
Eversource and United Illuminating (UI) expected thousands of people to lose power amid the storm.
Eversource spokesperson Mitch Gross said they had elevated the storm to a level 4 event, meaning that as many as 380,000 of its customers could lose power.
For those who lose power, Eversource predicts the restoration time at two to six days.
“It is going to be a very challenging next 24 hours,” Gross told News 8. “It’s the heavy rains which could loosen the root system for dead and diseased trees. The winds are also a major concern.”
Chuck Eves, the vice president of operations of United Illuminating, said 15,000 customers, which is about 5% of its customer base, were expected to lose power. UI crews will work to restore power as soon as possible, working overnight if necessary, Eves said.
During the storm, residents are reminded to stay away from downed trees and wires and report any they might see.
If you lose power and you are using a generator, here are some reminders to stay safe:
- Never install a generator inside a home or in any other enclosed space, even if windows are open
- Put the generator away from your home so the fumes cannot get inside your house
- Never try to power your house by plugging a portable generator into a household outlet
The shoreline communities experienced coastal flooding on Friday.
A Coastal Flood warning was in effect until 1 p.m. Friday for tide levels up to three feet above normal.
Here are some tips if you experience flooding:
- Drivers should use caution driving and not venture into areas where water has collected
- Evacuate if told to do so
- Move to higher ground or a higher floor if your home becomes flooded
Rain tapered off Friday morning, but another round of showers moved in around midday.
Temperatures fell rapidly Friday afternoon, causing icy surfaces. Drivers should use caution when driving.
“My concern will be water freezing with the sand, and we are probably going to have a difficult time getting that frozen water and sand back on the shore,” said Thomas Hunt, Department of Public Works Foreman in Milford.
Those cold temperatures pose a danger to unhoused people as well.
“We’ve activated the cold weather protocol for the city,” Fontana said. “We have three overnight warming centers, which will accommodate over 100 individuals. We’ve never had that capacity before.”
If you need any assistance during the storm, you’re asked to call 211.