Following several days of severe storms, the NBC Connecticut meteorologists have issued a First Alert for the impacts associated with Tropical Storm Elsa in Connecticut. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for part of the state and a flood watch is in effect until Friday.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect for New London County and parts of southern Middlesex and New Haven counties. River flood warnings are in effect for Fairfield and New Haven counties, and flash flood watches are in effect for Southern New Haven County, Southern New London County, and Northern Litchfield county.
Winds in excess of 40 miles per hour are possible.
Flash flooding is the main threat, with 2"-4" of rain expected around daybreak Friday.
The storm is expected to depart by midday with better weather, including some sunshine, by Friday afternoon.
POWER COMPANIES PREPARING
Eversource said it is preparing crews for up to 380,000 outages. The latest guidance from the Eversource Energy Center suggests 20,000 to 40,000 outages statewide.
The company has declared what it called a level four emergency.
“We have declared what’s called a Level 4 emergency response plan which means we will have somewhere between 290 and 500 line crews available at the onset of the storm, plus you add the tree crews and the hundreds of people that support in support roles behind the scenes," Eversource spokesperson Mitch Gross said.
Eversource said Thursday morning they are ready and have crews in place.
“Throughout this week’s destructive thunderstorms we’ve restored power to 80,000 customers and at the same time, we’ve also been watching multiple forecasts to track and prepare for Tropical Storm Elsa," Eversource Electric Operations President Craig Hallstrom said in a statement.
"We have hundreds of crews – including out-of-state crews that continue to arrive – ready to respond to any damage or outages this storm may cause," he said.
He said the company is prepositioning crews and equipment and will adjust the approach if necessary.
"Trees are the number one cause of outages and winds of 35-45 mph are expected with this storm and will bring down limbs and branches onto electric lines so we encourage our customers to be prepared for outages as well. We can’t control the weather and amount of damage the system will take, but we’re ready to respond as soon as we see an impact,” Hallstrom said.
To report outages -
United Illuminating: 800-722-5584
United Illuminating is also bringing in crews ahead of the storm, including extra line workers and tree crews.
"UI's crews have been constantly prepared throughout this week as scattered, but severe, storms have passed through the region daily. In preparation for Elsa, UI has secured contractor support to nearly double the size of its line workforce who will be arriving by noon today," the company said in a statement Friday.
Gov. Ned Lamont has signed an executive order that will allow utility trucks to drive on the Merritt and Wilbur Cross Parkways if needed for the response. The waiver is in effect from 8 a.m. on Friday, July 9 through 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 15.
SCHOOL SUMMER PROGRAM CANCELLATIONS
New Haven Public Schools proactively canceled all summer programs for Friday and is planning to close all school buildings. Several other districts also canceled programs for Friday.
The Block Island Ferry has scheduled all trips on Friday. Those with reservations can call 860-783-7996 to reschedule.
Metro-North did not have planned service changes, but warned that the storm could cause delays and encouraged riders to check schedules before they leave.
Officials are warning drivers to be careful on the roads and look out for low-lying areas that may flood. State police warn that you should never drive through standing water, even if it does not seem deep. AAA warns that they see more accidents in rainy weather than snow.