Malloy signs declaration of emergency as Sandy shifts a bit, Connecticut still expected to see the worst

Hurricane Sandy’s predicted path was shifted south late Saturday morning — but Connecticut is still in its sights.

The storm on Saturday continued to move away from the Bahamas and Florida and bring tropical-storm-force winds are already near the coast of North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center. While the storm may officially hit land south of Connecticut, the northern part of the hurricane, which is typically the most destructive part of a hurricane or tropical storm, is set up now to hit southwest Connecticut, putting Greenwich right in its path..

A coastal flood watch will go into effect in the region on Sunday evening through late Monday and that is expected to be extended as Sandy nears.

 

“The tri-state area will likely feel the impacts of a dangerous coastal storm Sunday evening through the middle of the next week,” stated a National Weather Service hazardous weather outlook issued Saturday morning. “This includes the likelihood for heavy rainfall and result in significant urban, small stream and river flooding, high winds causing widespread downing of trees and powerlines, and significant shoreline impacts from coastal flooding and beach erosion.”

How badly this area is affected still remains to be seen and it depends on how Sandy interacts with a low-pressure system approaching the East Coast — which is expected to form what forecasters have dubbed “Frankenstorm.”

Along the Connecticut coasts, flooding could be particularly bad as the storm’s timing will coincide with a full moon. “Persistent strong easterly flow will pile water on top of already higher astronomical high tides due to the full moon, resulting in possible continuing flood stages between high tide cycles,” according to the weather service. “The most prone for widespread moderate flooding will be the western Long Island Sound shorelines.”

Sandy, which Saturday morning was moving at 10 mph is expected to slow to 9 mph and move at a general northeastward motion then increase speed by Sunday night.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, the hurricane was sustaining 75 mph winds with higher gusts, according to the hurricane center. Those hurricane-force-winds extend 105 miles from the center of the storm. Tropical force winds extend 450 miles.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy is holding a conference call with Connecticut town leaders at 1 p.m. Saturday, including Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei, and plans to address the media at 2 p.m.

Mr. Malloy on Saturday signed a declaration of emergency for the state due to the likelihood of the storm’s impact. This power gives the governor the ability to modify and suspend state statutes and regulations which means work hours can be altered to have more people on hand for a response. It also gives him the power to order civil preparedness forces into action and the ability to designate vehicle and person routes and movements.

“The forecast path of Hurricane Sandy has convinced me that the signing of this declaration is necessary, and will help us react more quickly and effectively in the event of a serious weather event,” Mr. Malloy said. “This storm needs to be taken seriously and just as the state is taking preparatory actions, I encourage the public and all of the state’s utility companies to do the same.”

Greenwich is expected to make an update on its preparedness later today. Check back to Greenwich-post.com and twitter.com/greenwichpost for more information as it becomes available.

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