What to know: Tropical Storm Elsa ramps up in Connecticut this morning

Extreme Weather

ONGOING INLAND COVERAGE: NEW HAVEN, WATERBURY

ONGOING SHORELINE COVERAGE: NEW LONDON, OLD SAYBROOK

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — For days now, Storm Team 8 has been tracking Tropical Storm Elsa in the chance that it might hit Connecticut. Elsa’s projected path shows that this storm will certainly pay us a visit.

This week, Elsa touched down on Cuba, Florida Keys, Florida, and the Carolinas, making its way up the East Coast. The National Weather Service has a timeline of Elsa’s path.

Timing out Elsa’s path

Tropical Storm Elsa is in Connecticut this morning, bringing heavy rain and strong winds with it. It looks like the storm could leave the state between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday. New London, Middlesex, and New Haven counties, the shoreline, are currently under a Tropical Storm Warning. The whole state is under a Flash Flood Watch.

A flash flood warning is in effect for Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Fairfield and Tolland counties.

We are expecting between 1” and 5” of rain, with possible flash flooding. Wind gusts could be over 40 miles per hour, which can trigger power outages.

There is a possibility of one or a few tornado warnings Friday morning. They might be quick-moving, with little to no warning.

Once Elsa is said and done in the Nutmeg State, we may see some thunderstorms roll through Friday evening and throughout the weekend.

Are utility companies ready?

One question on everyone’s minds: Are the utility companies ready for Elsa? Tropical Storm Isaias last summer left around 800,000 people in the dark for over a week, and Eversource and UI were criticized for the slow restoration time. This resulted in food and medicine going bad in refrigerators. Also, Isaias came as state regulators were scrutinizing Eversource’s price hikes that went into effect during the height of the pandemic.

The Take Back the Grid Act was signed into law last fall to hold utility companies more accountable for their performances and rates.

This time around, Eversource is lining up hundreds of crews and is putting them on standby for the storm.

“We have been securing out-of-state line crews for days in advance of this storm. We’re preparing our crew, we are preparing equipment,” said Eversource spokesperson Mitch Gross. “Then we wait and see what the storm decides to do and respond accordingly.”

Crews have also been working around the clock this week to restore power lost during these past few thunderstorms.

Are you ready?

Elsa is arriving just as thunderstorms rolled through Connecticut for two days in a row, and will possibly happen for a third day Thursday. Each day, residents have woken up to storm damage and power outages. Storm damage could be seen all over Hartford County from Wednesday evening’s storm.

Ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa Thursday, Gov. Ned Lamont ordered a partial activation of the State of Emergency operations.

Eversource recommends having a supply kit ready, full of bottled water, canned food, and pet food. Also, charge your phones and other electronic devices just in case you lose power. Make sure your generators are set up outside, ready to go.

Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) announced last week that eligible customers can receive credit or other compensation for spoiled food and medicine if the power is out for too long.

WEB EXTRA: Focks stocking up on supplies, generators ahead of Elsa

As of 4 p.m., Eversource reported 5,819 outages while United Illuminating reported
214 outages.

Keep track of the current power outages below:

Eversource outages:

Link to United Illuminating outage map.

Connecticut’s marinas along the shoreline have been alerting boat and watercraft owners to double up their lines, add extra fenders, and make sure their bilge pumps work ahead of Elsa.

The State of Connecticut has rolled out its CTPrepares app, where residents can stay up to date during an emergency, no matter what time of year.

Tracking the Tropics

Earlier this week, Chief Meteorologist Gil Simmons was a guest on Tracking the Tropics, where the group saw Elsa over Cuba and was making its way to the Florida Keys and Florida for the next day. At the time it was streamed, it was not clear to the team if Elsa would even touch Connecticut, but emphasized the importance of keeping a close watch on the storm. Watch a replay here.

The Tracking the Tropics team in Tampa, Fla. is keeping track of Elsa day by day. Stay tuned to WTNH.com and the WTNH Facebook page for the latest updates on Elsa.

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