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Storm hits Connecticut with strong winds, heavy rain, power outages

Vernon homeowner Donna Russell calls up her husband with an update, the "tree branch" that came down was a bit bigger than she initially guessed.
Tyler Russell
/
Connecticut Public
High winds and heavy rain knocked out power and downed trees affecting thousands across Connecticut including Donna Russell (above) in Vernon, Conn.

A strong storm hit Connecticut Monday with gusty winds and heavy rains, resulting in tens of thousands of power outages and leading to school closures and slow-going traffic.

A few Connecticut towns recorded rainfall of over 4 inches, according to the National Weather Service. That included parts of Danbury and Brookfield in Fairfield County. In Hartford County, a part of Bristol also recorded more than 4 inches. Many other communities across the state reported 2 or more inches of rain.

Gusty winds knocked down trees and power lines. By midday Monday, about 77,000 Eversource customers and 1,000 United Illuminating customers were without power. By the evening, total outages fell to around 30,000 for Eversource and power for most UI customers was restored.

Eversource listed about 26,000 customers without power Tuesday morning.

Crews continue to work to restore electricity across the state.

"We have hundreds of crews out right now working on any damage caused by this storm," said Jamie Ratliff, an Eversource spokesperson. "We've seen significant winds throughout this storm."

Ratliff said the company was "expecting this to be a multi-day restoration."

Heavy rains combined with saturated ground can make trees "more vulnerable" to high winds, Ratliff said. Eversource officials cautioned more outages were possible because of the weakened state of trees and wet soil.

As crews worked to restore power, winds were still causing new system outages late Monday morning, Ratliff said.

Flood warnings issued

Flood warnings were issued across the state, along with high wind warnings.

Total rainfall of 2 to 4 inches would result in rapid stream and small river rises, the National Weather Service warned.

By Monday afternoon, some rivers and streams were still taking on water even though the rain had largely stopped.

"Streams continue to rise due to excess runoff from earlier rainfall," the agency said.

Connecticut Public meteorologist Garett Argianas suggests checking on basements if they're prone to flooding issues.

State police respond to dozens of accidents on roadways

The Connecticut State Police responded to about 76 motor vehicle accidents Monday morning.

In bad weather, accidents are often caused by motorists driving too fast for the conditions, Sgt. Christine Jeltema said in an email.

She advised motorists to slow down and give more space to vehicles in front of them.

"Be mindful to the traffic and roadway conditions," Jeltema said.

School closures

A number of schools canceled classes or delayed opening on Monday as a result of the storm.

Large puddles and roads filled with standing water, downed branches and other debris presented challenges for drivers. Learn more about school closures here.

After Monday

Better weather is ahead following Monday's storm, Argianas said.

A mix of sun and clouds are expected Tuesday with a high in the low-to-mid 40s.

Wednesday and Thursday are expected to be mostly sunny with a high in the low 40s.

Connecticut Public's Matt Dwyer and Eric Aasen contributed to this report.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.