Connecticut braces for nor’easter, Eversource preparing for 125k outages

The National Weather Service said heavy rain is in the forecast for all of Connecticut from Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, through Tuesday.

The National Weather Service said heavy rain is in the forecast for all of Connecticut from Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, through Tuesday.

NWS / Contributed

The state is expected to see prolonged periods of heavy rainfall Monday night through Tuesday night as a coastal storm moves in to the area, according to the National Weather Service.

Eversource, the state’s largest electrical utility, said it is preparing for a Level 5 storm, meaning there is potential for up to 125,000 customers to be without power.

The storm is also forecast to bring localized flash flooding, strong winds, coastal flooding and beach erosion, the weather service said.

In an update Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service said the storm could now bring up to 2 to 5 inches of rain, “with locally higher amounts” possible. At times, half an inch to an inch of rain could fall per hour, the weather service said.

A flash flood watch is in effect from 8 p.m. Monday evening through Tuesday afternoon.

Gary Lessor, chief meteorologist at Western Connecticut State University, said the storm would be nowhere near the magnitude of the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which inundated the state with rain almost two months prior.

He called the storm a “garden variety nor’easter.”

“Your typical middle of the fall coastal rainstorm,” Lessor said, reached by phone Monday evening.

Eversource said in a tweet that it was prepared to respond to power outages from the strong winds forecast for Monday night and Tuesday. Crews were out trimming trees near power lines ahead of the storm, according to Eversource.

“When trees still have most of their leaves, the risk of tree-caused outages with a nor’easter is much higher. Weighed down by the rain, the leaves act like a sail, causing the tree to bend with the wind,” said Sean Redding, manager of vegetation management for Eversource Connecticut.

Mitch Gross, a spokesman for the utility company, said crews will be positioned around the state ready to respond to outages. Eversource is also in the process of securing contractor crews.

“We encourage customers to prepare by having a storm kit fully stocked with non-perishable foods, water, flash light, medications, pet food (and et cetera), and remember to charge their mobile devices,” Gross said in an email.

Southern regions of the state could see coastal flooding around high tide Tuesday, according to Lessor. High tide is forecast between around 3:20 to 4 p.m. depending on location. The state could see sustained winds of 15 to 25 mph Tuesday with gusts up to 40 mph along the coast. Winds could get up to 50 mph in the area east of New Haven Tuesday night, which could cause scattered outages, Lessor said. Sunshine could return as early as Wednesday with sun expected Thursday.

More rain is expected Friday, which could see additional flooding if the ground is already saturated, according to Lessor.

Local officials have issued warnings about the approaching storm through social media channels. In Bridgeport, Mayor Joe Ganim’s office advised residents to have food and water on hand in case of power outages and reminded residents not to drive through floodwaters or run generators indoors.

In Greenwich, First Selectman Fred Camillo said heavy rains and storm drains clogged with leaves could result in local flooding. Coastal flooding could also occur around high tide, at 3:41p.m. Tuesday and 4:18 a.m. Wednesday. He urged residents to be prepared in the event of a power outage.

In Milford, the city fire department asked residents to brush leaves away from their street’s catch basin. “A quick sweep with a broom or rake will easily clear off a catch basin and keep our drainage systems flowing properly. There are almost 9,000 catch basins in the City of Milford,” the department said through a Facebook post. “Please be sure that the tops of the catch basins and curb lines in your neighborhood are clear of yard waste and debris.”

The weather service said the threat of flash flooding is expected Monday night into Tuesday evening, with a strong wind threat from late Tuesday afternoon through Tuesday evening. The coastal flooding threat is expected during the high-tide cycles Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday.

Strong wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph are possible with this storm, especially along the coastline, the weather service said. The strong winds could bring down trees and power lines.

The track and intensity of the storm remains uncertain, the weather service said

If the storm tracks closer to the coast, it could bring higher rain totals and stronger winds farther inland, the weather service said. If the storm tracks farther offshore, it’ll bring lower rain totals and keep the strongest wind gusts along the coast.

The storm will continue to hit the area Tuesday, with a high near 60 degrees. The temperature will drop to around 50 degrees at night as the rain tapers off, the weather service said.

By Wednesday, the forecast indicates a chance of rain before 8 a.m., followed by a mostly cloudy day with a high temperature near 60 degrees. It’ll be partly cloudy Wednesday night, with a low around 45 degrees.

Thursday’s forecast calls for sunny skies and a high near 60 degrees. By night, it’ll be partly cloudy and reach a low around 45 degrees.

Rain is back in the forecast for Friday, with showers likely in the afternoon. It will be mostly cloudy with a high around 60 degrees. Friday night brings more chances of showers, with cloudy skies and a low around 50 degrees.