Source: The Norwalk Hour
NORWALK — Hurricane Irene will bring large amounts of rain, sustained winds for a very long period of time, and the prospect of the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways being closed to traffic starting at midnight Saturday, according to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
At noon Friday, Malloy outlined preparations being made in advance of Irene’s anticipated arrival in Connecticut late Saturday.
“What we are anticipating is tremendous tree damage and wind damage, and I would also warn you that we are also anticipating, based on current conditions, is the large-scale loss of electricity across the state and not just for a few hours, days and weeks,” said Malloy in a press conference at noon to address the approaching storm. “Of course, we are prepared to move populations should that be necessary.”
On Thursday, Malloy signed a Declaration of Emergency Order, authorizing him to order evacuations as needed to protect residents from the storm.
While no evacuations have been ordered yet in Connecticut, Malloy urged residents to use the time between now and midnight Saturday to prepare for Irene, and for those who live in low-lying areas that have flooded before to take extra precautions and get out if necessary.
“We are absolutely, 100 percent urging any citizen who has ever experienced flooding, in any part of the state previously, to take the steps necessary to vacate those circumstances by 12 o’clock midnight Saturday night,” Malloy said. “And that may move to an earlier hour if this storm moves more quickly.”
According to Malloy, there is a likelihood that the Merritt Parkway and Wilbur Cross Parkway will be closed Saturday at midnight due to the threat posed by the storm winds to the many trees along both roadways.
Malloy said that while the Irene’s winds have dropped slightly — to about 110 mph on Friday morning — the barometric pressure at the center of the storm is also dropping, leaving the possibility of the hurricane “recovering higher category status within an hour.”
The governor said officials are preparing for surges in the four to five-foot range.