Governor gives negative outlook on storm

"I wish I had better news to report, but I don't," Gov. Dannel Malloy said during Monday morning's press briefing in Hartford.

All weather reports are coming to pass, and the governor expects the weather will rapidly deteriorate within in the next few hours. He advised all Connecticut residents to stay in their homes and ordered that all non-essential state employees not go to work.

"It's dangerous out there and will be over the next coming hours," Malloy said. "So stay home — let me repeat — stay home. We've done everything we can to prepare you for the storm ... Stay home, hang on, pray, and hope for the best."

The president's signed declaration of emergency for Connecticut has been approved, which will free up federal funding to cover storm damage sooner, Malloy said.

Power outages so far have been minimal, but Malloy said they will continue as the wind picks up. The worst winds are expected to be between 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. During that 12-hour period the state can expect a lot of power outages and can expect them to last for a long period of time, Malloy said, noting gusts could be as high as 90 miles per hour.

The high tide at noon today will be higher than it was at the height of Irene, and it will be bad for New London and worse for Bridgeport, Malloy said. The tide that could cause "unprecedented damage" is tonight's 7-11 foot surge. Malloy mentioned those surges could also affect those who live near rivers and streams.

Malloy said 850 national guardsmen and women have been deployed, all state buses have been shut down, Bradley International Airport will close at 1 today, and like New York and New Jersey, a truck ban will be implemented in Connecticut.

"In Connecticut, no one thought '38 [hurricane] would ever happen again," Malloy said. "There will be twice as much water in the Sound as with Irene. This is the most catastrophic event we have been faced with and have been able to plan for in our lifetimes."

Bill Quinlan of CL&P said the company is concerned about protecting its substations in Stamford and Branford. It is working in Stamford to build a six-foot berm to prevent water infiltration. The company plans to bring in a portable substation to its Branford facility.

John Prete, senior vice president for United Illuminating, said the company has 20% more line and tree workers on the ground than at the peak of Irene. He echoed yesterday's sentiments that both tree and line restoration will begin after heavy winds subside. He said UI has six substations vulnerable to flooding and that it has taken "extraordinary measures to prevent floods from getting into devices and equipment in the control rooms."

Malloy's next press briefing will be at noon.