Sandy Strengthens Again

Gov. Malloy called Sandy the largest threat to human life in Connecticut in anyone's lifetime.

Hurricane Sandy continues to strengthen as the storm moves north, with winds of up to 90 mph churning toward the East Coast.

Gov. Dannel Malloy ordered all trucks off the highways as of 11 a.m. and all vehicles off the roads at 1 p.m., with the exception of emergency vehicles.

The 11 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center showed that wind speeds had increased by 5 miles per hour since 5 a.m. and noted that some further strengthening is possible, with the storm weakening after it makes landfall in New Jersey within hours.

Malloy is also warning that substations and sewage treatment will be compromised based on current forecasts.

See full Sandy coverage.

State officials are warning of unprecedented flooding thanks to storm surges twice the size of those seen during Tropical Storm Irene.

"People in Connecticut are used to a hurricane being a 6- to 8-hour event. This is going to be a 36-hour event," Gov. Dan Malloy said on the "Today" show on Monday morning.

Malloy said he expects conditions to deteriorate rapidly and the worst winds are expected from 3 p.m. on Monday to 3 a.m. on Tuesday.

"Expect a lot of power outages during that time," Malloy said.

To make matters worse, four high tides are coming during the storm, each of which will get progressively worse, according to the governor.

High tide an noon will be higher than Irene, Malloy warned.

"It's bad for New London. It's a lot worse for Bridgeport," Malloy said.

He referred to tonight's high tide as "catastrophic" and said damage and property loss will be extreme as the surges, 7 to 11 feet over regular high tide levels, hit the shore.

'This storm is staying close to script and that script is bringing us to the worst result you can possibly imagine," Malloy said.

During a 6 p.m. news conference Sunday, Malloy said that this is the largest threat to human life that the state has experienced in anyone's lifetime.

"The last time we saw anything like this was never,” he said.

Malloy said all non-essential employees should stay home on Monday and the judicial branch is closed.

“After having consulted with state agency officials and our weather forecasters, I am ordering all non-essential state employees to stay home Monday,” Malloy said.  “Actually, I’m not a fan of that term – to me, everyone who works is important, but that’s the term that’s used.  So if you’re designated as non-essential, stay home.  If you’re designated as essential, then report to work.”

The Millstone power plant was taken down 75 percent in advance of the storm. Malloy said it will not be affected by wind or tide, but the concern would be about what is in the water, such as a house.

To accomodate residents, the deadline to register to vote has been extended to Nov. 1, said Malloy, who does not want people to be going out in the storm to register to vote. Malloy has also ordered the Department of Motor Vehicles to extend deadlines for license renewals and registrations.

Most airlines that operate out of Bradley Airport are running on a limited schedule until noon on Monday.

From noon on Monday until noon on Tuesday, there will be no flights into or out of the airport.

Malloy signed a declaration of emergency ahead of Hurricane Sandy and President Barack Obama has declared a pre-landfall emergency declaration.

“It appears that the worst-case scenario for Connecticut is the one that is most likely to play itself out in the coming days,” Malloy said on Sunday morning. “We are talking about an extended, potentially unprecedented, weather event that will begin tonight and could extend through mid-day on Tuesday. We are talking about extensive flooding, maybe the worst we have seen in 70 years.”

That is in reference a surge that could rival the massive 1938 storm.

"Folks, this could be bad. Really bad," Malloy said during a news conference on Saturday afternoon.  "Everybody's in danger."

“The amount of water the storm is expected to push into Long Island Sound is far more than the Sound shoreline can handle,” Malloy said.

Shoreline communities will not be alone in experiencing storm surges. Malloy said the surge could come as far north as Middletown in central Connecticut.

“Make sure everything on your property that is not planted in the dirt is moved inside,” Malloy said. He also recommended that residents fill their bathtubs with water. 

Malloy said the state is doing all it can to prepare for the impact that this storm is expected to have.

Part of that plan includes the Department of Health working with nursing homes in low-lying areas to determine what assistance they might need and if they need to be evacuated.

“As bad as the storm is likely to be and as much damage as it is likely to cause, I have every confidence that the people of Connecticut can and will withstand the next 48 hours. We have been hit before and we’ve gotten back up. We’re about to get hit again, hit hard, but if we’re smart, we will come through this together.”  

Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have been in Connecticut since Sunday morning, Malloy said, and the state is mobilizing as many as 800 National Guard troops to help with the recovery.

Malloy also warned that companies that engage in price gouging will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Several mandatory evacuation orders for residents were issued along the immediate shoreline.  Those evacuations were set for midday on Sunday. These evacuations affect an estimated 10th of the state population.

the governor urged residents not to leave their homes unless they are in evacuations zones.

"Get out before you can't," Malloy said to those who have not yet left evacuation zones.

Some schools announced closings for Monday and Tuesday, days before Sandy's arrival.

This would be the second tropical storm to pound Connecticut in 15 months -- and the memory of crippling power outages and massive damage from Irene is still fresh for many. That is something Malloy warned could happen again.

“In all likelihood, power will be out for many people for many days,” Malloy said.

The National Hurricane Center track has the storm coming ashore along the southern New Jersey coastline late on Monday, however there is some data that suggests Sandy could move a bit further north before making landfall, according to NBC Connecticut Chief Meteorologist Brad Field.

How far Sandy gets pulled to the west will have a huge bearing for Connecticut.

"There’s no way to sugar coat today’s trends. Hurricane Sandy is going to pummel Connecticut with damaging winds and storm surge. The storm’s track has ticked north a bit from what earlier models were showing and now there’s a strong consensus in our models that Sandy will make landfall in central New Jersey or just south of New York City," NBC Connecticut meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan wrote in his blog.

"The storm surge has the potential to be catastrophic and record breaking in parts of the Sound," Hanrahan wrote.

Check out Hanrahan's blog for a more in-depth explanation of the storm scenarios.

For an interactive map of Hurricane Sandy and the cone, try out the one posted on the NOAA/ National Weather Service Web site.

Make sure your family is prepared by reviewing FEMA recommendations on what to do before, during and after a storm.

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