Connecticut prepared for what could be a once-removed or barrier eye-wall hit from Hurricane Irene -- barrier in that Irene's impact will be blunted by Long Island, N.Y. which lies roughly 15-20 miles to the south of Connecticut's shore line and separates it from the Atlantic Ocean.
Most models show the storm striking New York City, then continuing north into western Connecticut. Rainfall could be in as high as 8 inches, and locally more, with wind gusts as high as 70 mph range.
As of Thursday at 2 p.m. EDT, Hurricane Irene, a Category 3 hurricane or Cat 3, was about 150 miles east of Miami, moving north/northwest at 14 miles per hour with maximum winds of 115 miles per hour.
Rain and wind will probably reach Connecticut by late Saturday afternoon, with the remnants of the hurricane expected to end by Monday afternoon.
Major Power Outages Expected
Power outages caused by trees is going to be the big story as the storm moves inland in the northeast, National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read said during a conference call with reporters Thursday morning, The Hartford Courant reported.
The last major hurricane to cross the state was Hurricane Gloria in September 1985, with the storm crossing Long Island, N.Y. and making landfall in Fairfield County, Conn. Overall, along the U.S. East Coast, Gloria killed eight people and caused about $900 million in damages, or about $1.84 billion in 2011 dollars.
Meterologists expect Hurricane Irene to brush the North Carolina coast on Saturday and track the East Coast, losing some of its power arcing to the northeast and soaking New England.
Connecticut's ground is already saturated, therefore any rain will mostly runoff, swelling rivers and soaking low-lying areas. That saturated ground plus high winds will likely bring down sensitive and/or weaker trees, officials say, and could also result in extensive power outages.
To put it as delicately as we can, we take this threat very, very seriously, Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy said, WCBS880.com reported Thursday. We believe that the time to prepare for what might be an eventuality is now. Malloy also urged local governments to clear drainage facilities ahead of the storm.
Peter Boynton, deputy commissioner of Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, said the state does not currently see a need for any evacuations, but that could change.