Hurricane Irene
Connecticut's public officials and residents along the shore line on Long Island Sound and elsewhere braced Friday for Hurricane Irene -- a huge storm that's on track to deliver a bulls-eye hit to the state -- perhaps the largest Hurricane to impact the state since Hurricane Gloria in September 1985. REUTERS

Get ready Connecticut, because here she comes -- Hurricane Irene, of course, a monster of a storm that's about 100 miles east of Georgia with maximum winds of 105 mph, and traveling north at 14 mph.

Irene is expected to enter the Mid-Atlantic Region by Sunday at 1 a.m. EDT, then head up the East Coast with rains and wind reaching Connecticut by Sunday at 3 a.m. EDT.

We know that hurricane conditions will be arriving in Connecticut by some time later Saturday night or early Sunday, FoxCT Chief Meterologist Joe Furey told The Hartford Courant on Friday. We're talking a path that will take it across western Connecticut or further west, which will put us on the east side of the storm.

Strong Wind, Heavy Rain Expected

Furey said heavy rain from the hurricane could also cause inland flooding, and he expects 30- to 60-mph winds across Connecticut, with gusts of up to 75 mph.

Widespread power outages are expected, he added. Get prepared now.

Heavy rain could begin as early as 10 p.m. Saturday night and will last through 5 p.m. Sunday. The strongest winds will be from 4 a.m. Sunday morning to Sunday night, with the worst of the weather ending around 2 p.m. Sunday, reported Friday.

In Hartford, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy declared a state of emergency amid storm preparations. The governor signed the declaration signed Thursday, giving him powers including the ability to order evacuations and direct civil preparedness forces into action.

Malloy said he decided the measure is necessary because of the projected storm path that threatens a direct hit on Connecticut over the weekend. He said it'll help officials react more quickly in the event of a serious event.

Meanwhile, Northeast Utilities said it has line crews ready in advance of the storm and standby crews for cleanup afterward. But residents who lose power are asked to be patient, reported Friday. Connecticut Light & Power Co. said it canceled employee vacations and is putting its entire staff on call.

Preparation: The Key to Coping with Irene

State officials have been urging residents to prepare storm kits consisting of three days' worth of water and nonperishable food and to stock up on items including medications, a can opener, a flashlight with extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, a wrench or pliers for turning off utilities, a cell phone with chargers, a first aid kit, and a battery-powered or hand-crank radio.

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 East Coast, Gloria killed eight people and caused about $900 million in damages, or about $1.84 billion in 2011 dollars.

Connecticut's ground is already saturated from previous rain storms, therefore any additional 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.

I want to fervently urge Connecticut citizens and our city and town and state officials to begin the response immediately, Malloy told the Courant. We take this threat very, very seriously [and] believe that the time to prepare for what might be an eventuality is now. We believe there are precious few hours that should be wasted by the state or by municipal officials or first responders.

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