There are some 200,000 people without power right now and another 52,000 will join them shortly when United Illuminating shuts down three power substations in Bridgeport that will go under water soon as Long Island Sound's water rises.
"We're halfway through Hurricane Sandy," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said during an evening briefing at the State Armory.
While the storm now appears to be moving faster through the state than anticipated Malloy said, forecasters are still expecting a large storm surge in Long Island Sound that could imperil homes and businesses near the water, from Greenwich to Stonington.
“The worst is still to come,” he said.
UI will shut down its Bridgeport substations before they flood to protect them, Malloy said. Of the 52,000 customers those substations serve, he added, about 47,000 live in the city and the other 5,000 live in suburban communities nearby, including Fairfield, Stratford, Trumbull and Shelton.
Beyond those communities utility officials expect many more customers to lose power as Sandy’s winds increase over night.
“The winds will intensify and remain strong through tomorrow,” Malloy said. “We expect more power outages.”
Some towns, such as New London, have already experienced wind gusts of up to 80 mph, Malloy said.
There are currently 40 roads closed throughout the state, about half resulting from flooding and the other half from downed trees, he added. The Merritt Parkway right now has trees down on it blocking traffic.
He again urged residents to stay off the roads, both for their own safety and for those who would have to rescue them in the event of an emergency.
“Unless your life depends on you leaving your home, then don’t.”
William Quinlan, a senior vice president with CL&P, said the company is closely watching substations in Stamford and Branford to decide whether those stations, which serve tens of thousands of customers along the shoreline, will also need to be shut down before flood waters hit them.
He said the company is working very closely with the leaders of the 145 towns CL&P serves to make ensure a safe and speedy restoration of power.