Governor M. Jodi Rell this evening said Hurricane Earl’s initial brush with Connecticut has gone much as expected, adding that the state has benefitted in many ways from the storm’s gradual weakening and north-northeast track.
Governor Rell this morning activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Key state agencies have been at full readiness since Thursday, including preparing equipment and supplies, ensuring vehicles and generators are fully fueled and reviewing plans for dam safety checks, utility service restorations and debris removal.
In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have sent teams to work with state officials in the Connecticut EOC, which is located at the William A. O’Neill Armory in Hartford.
Southeastern Connecticut continues to be the area most affected by the storm. Bands of wind and rain began moving through the region this afternoon. As of early evening, the EOC had received no reports of injuries, major damage or widespread power outages. However, the heaviest downpours and highest winds – including gusts potentially as high as 50 mph – are likely later tonight, particularly between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.
“We have been well-prepared for this storm – but we have also caught some very lucky breaks,” Governor Rell said. “While still a hurricane and still a threat, the storm has steadily dwindled in intensity. Moreover, it has done so much more rapidly than the forecasts suggested last night or this morning. Hurricane Earl has also kept to the ‘track’ that it was predicted to take. Even a small variation might have meant the storm, no matter how much it has weakened, would have delivered a much more destructive blow.
“I want to thank all of the first responders, state and local officials, utility representatives and our federal partners for the continued efforts as we wait out this storm,” the Governor said. “We are monitoring every step the storm is taking and will continue to do so until it is well out of Connecticut.”