Henri intensified to a Category 1 hurricane Saturday while continuing towards Connecticut and Eversource has increased the number of possible power outages and how long restoration efforts could take.
The National Hurricane Center is now forecasting the storm to come ashore over Long Island and then into Connecticut somewhere between New Haven and New London sometime Sunday morning or afternoon.
The 11 p.m. update showed a shift east with Henri passing near Block Island. Even with the shift eastward, heavy rainfall remains a big concern for all of Connecticut.
The National Hurricane Center says maximum wind gusts are currently 75 mph but slight strengthening is possible overnight.
A hurricane warning is in effect for New Haven, Middlesex, and New London counties. A storm surge warning is in effect for parts of the shoreline and we could see a storm surge of 3 to 5 feet.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Fairfield County and now extends inland to Litchfield, Hartford, Tolland, and Windham counties.
A flood watch has also been issued statewide from Saturday night through Monday morning.
Eversource has increased the number of possible power outages as the state braces for Hurricane Henri.
Officials said the energy company will declare an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) Level 2 on Sunday a.m.
According to Eversource, between 50% and 69% of Eversource customers in the state could lose power and restoration efforts could last between eight and 21 days.
“As Henri moves closer, we’ve been re-positioning crews, equipment and other resources accordingly so that we’re ready for the significant, widespread damage we can expect to see from this storm,” said Eversource President of Regional Electric Operations Craig Hallstrom in a statement in part.
Currently, most of Connecticut is tracking to be on the east side of the storm, which can lead to stronger winds.
State of Emergency Declared
Gov. Ned Lamont issued a state of emergency Friday and activated the National Guard to help with search and rescue, clearing routes, power generation, and distributing supplies after the storm.
On Twitter, the governor said, "Right now, it’s a good idea for everyone to be prepared and expect to shelter in place by Sunday afternoon through at least Monday morning."
The forecast track puts central and eastern Connecticut on the side of the storm with the strongest winds. Heavy rain and widespread flooding are also likely.
A storm surge warning has been issued for the entire Connecticut shoreline.
The majority of Connecticut's public transportation including transit bus, train, and ferry services will be suspended starting Sunday because of Hurricane Henri, according to the state Department of Transportation.
DOT officials said services will be suspended after the last trips of the night Saturday due to heavy rains and high winds.
Officials emphasized that Connecticut is sensitive to rainfall, which will cause numerous flooding issues where roads will become impassable, streams and creeks will overflow their banks, and rivers can rise and crest early next week.
Coastal flooding is also expected. Because the ground is already saturated, trees could uproot easier than normal, DOT officials said. Scattered tree damage and power outages are likely.
“The safety of Connecticut residents is our top priority,” said DOT Commissioner Joseph Giulietti. “We urge all travelers to avoid standing water on roads and highways where vehicles may stall. And with soaked grounds, there may be numerous downed trees. The suspension of most of our public transit services is about CTDOT working with our partners in public transportation and ensuring the safety of all, whether on public transportation or on our highways.”
State Parks & Forest Areas Closed Sunday
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced that all state parks and forest areas will be closed Sunday due to Hurricane Henri.
They're expected to reopen Monday pending any potential storm impact. Any closures will be communicated via Twitter.
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker is recommending some residents of New Haven evacuate ahead of Hurricane Henri.
Elicker said residents in three areas of the city should evacuate due to the concern of flooding.
Those areas include:
- East Shore:
- South of Myron Street
- Haven Street
- John Murphy Drive
- City Point:
- South Water Street
Residents are being asked to leave before 5 a.m. on Sunday.
Residents along several shoreline cities and towns are being told they have to evacuate their homes because of a hurricane warning that's been issued ahead of the arrival of Henri.
See the full list of cities and towns at the link below.
How You Can Prepare for Hurricane Henri
Department of Consumer Protection Warns of Dangers, Scams Ahead of Hurricane Henri
The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) is reminding the public to be careful of potential scams and dangerous situations ahead of Hurricane Henri.
Officials emphasized that state law prohibits price gouging on consumer items and energy resources during a civil preparedness emergency in Connecticut. Also, energy dealers can't charge excessive prices for energy resources such as heating oil, gas, propane, natural gas, electricity, and wood fuels.