EAST HAVEN, Conn. — Extremely strong wind gusts picked up by the hour along Cosey Beach in East Haven. Large waves were seen splashing up on shore as heavy rain plummeted homes nearby.
Several of the homes are built high off the ground to avoid flooding. As of 5:45 p.m., Eversource reported more than 16,500 outages, while United Illuminating reported more than 1,300.
"Anytime you have winds that are expected to be along the coast, 55 mile-an-hour gust ... that's a concern," said Rick Fontana, Director of Emergency Operations of New Haven.
Fontana said he uses a monitor which has allowed him to look at the forecast 15 days in advance. This storm had been on his radar for days, so the poor conditions came as no surprise.
"We've got crews that are on standby. We have crews that will not only have barriers and over-the-road signage for areas that may flood but we also have tree crews that are on standby who are ready to go on a moment's notice," added Fontana.
Fontana said the good news is a lot of trees do not have leaves on them anymore which lessens the weight. The bad news, a diseased tree with no leaves can be just as prone to falling.
About 20 crews with United Illuminating prepped their trucks all morning and afternoon to get ready to respond.
"The trees will be the problem. Our infrastructure will be able to withstand the winds we expect to see tonight. Trees falling on our infrastructure will cause damages and we have a program in place to deal with that," said Chuck Eves, Vice President of UI Electric Operations.
Eves said he expects to lose up to 3% of their customers for power.
"If your lights go out, please be aware of where the downed wires are and stay away from them. Our crews will be out working through the night so if you see them on the road, please pay attention to your driving, give them space and slow down," added Eves.
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