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Irene's Wrath: Updates From the Storm (Aug. 24-28)

Darien residents began surveying the damage Sunday as strong winds continued to buffet the area.

Editor's note: Live updates on Irene's aftermath .

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SUNDAY, AUG. 28

• 11:56 p.m.: Final status check

Before turning in for the night, here's one last look at where things stand:

  • Fairfield County remains under a flood watch through 3 a.m.
  • 5,568 Darien customers (or 70 percent) are without power at this moment, according to CL&P. One bit of good news: downtown appears to be mostly (if not fully) powered.
  • Darien Public Schools, Person-to-Person, and most of the YMCA's Goodwives facilities are closed Monday. (If you'd like to spread the word about a closure or scheduling change, email johnd@patch.com or post it in the comments.)
  • Metro-North's supension of service .
  • DPW crews are out in force clearing fallen trees and other hazards from Darien's roads.
  • However, there are still many, many obstacles out there that can make traveling dangerous, particularly in areas with no power. If you do need to venture out, drive slowly and exercise caution.

• 10:38 p.m.: Scratch that...

Outages jump to a new high of 5,564 (70 percent of town).

• 9:50 p.m.: Headed in the right direction

The number of CL&P customers in Darien without power has declined slightly, down to 5,398 from 5,552. The bad news? That's still 68 percent of the town.

• 9:40 p.m.: Metro-North suspension continues Monday

Metro-North service on all three lines Monday to allow crews to complete storm-related repairs, MTA officials announced Sunday.

• 8:26 p.m.: Nash Island gazebo apparently washed out

One of the structural victims of Irene: the Nash Island gazebo, which was apparently washed out during the storm. The Noroton Yacht Club .

And then there are the power outages, which continue to mount. As of 8:30 p.m., some 5,300 CL&P customers were without power in Darien. (That's 67 percent of the town.)

• 7:42 p.m.: Still more lose power in Darien

The number of Darien customers without power has jumped yet again, according to CL&P, and now stands at 5,292 (67 percent of the town).

Reports are also coming in from readers that cable TV/internet has been knocked out in some parts of town. 

• 7:25 p.m.: Power could take a week or more to restore

According to CL&P, it's likely to take at least a week to restore power to the 622,000 customers who lost it statewide.

Company officials today said that some 800 crews, some of whom came from as far away as Florida and Michigan, are starting to fan out across the state to begin the work of restoring power.

But their first priority, a CL&P spokeswoman said, will be to assess the extent of damage and then work with local public works crews in towns to clear trees from roadways and make streets safe and passable again.

Restoration efforts will continue around the clock, CL&P said in a statement, though most of its workforce will be deployed during the day. 

• 7:22 p.m.: Looking for food?

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but we're told the following Darien restaurants are open tonight:

If you know of others, post them in the comments below or email johnd@patch.com. 

• 7:12 p.m.: Metro-North not expected to resume normal schedule Monday

A few miscellaneous updates:

  • Gov. Dannel Malloy says it's doubtful that Metro-North will be running on its usual schedule Monday and advises riders to make alternate transportation plans.
  • Due to a power surge, was knocked off the air at 5:30 a.m. this morning. The station will be unable to reboot until Monday morning.
  • will be closed Monday.

• 6:07 p.m.: Still more without power

The number of Darien customers without power across town has climbed to 4,717, according to CL&P, or 60 percent of the town.

• 4:12 p.m.: Inauspicious record broken

CL&P says that 622,000 of its customers were without power due to Irene at one point, breaking the previous record of 477,000 set during Hurricane Gloria in 1985.

But crews are hard at work reducing that number, the company says, beginning with priority locations such as hospitals and police departments.

“Now that it is safe for our crews to be out, we’re able to mobilize all of our available resources," CL&P president Jeff Butler said in a statement. "At the same time, we continue trying to get additional crews to expedite our efforts.” 

CL&P offered these tips regarding outages, power lines, and generators:

  • Stay at least 10 feet away from all wires! Assume any downed, hanging or burning power lines are live and dangerous. If a power line falls on your vehicle while you’re inside, stay there. Don’t touch anything outside the vehicle and wait for emergency crews.  Call 9-1-1 immediately with any emergency condition.   
  • To report outages or check the status of an outage, visit cl-p.com or call 800-286-2000. Our automated phone and online systems can rapidly process your report and help us speed restoration efforts.   
  • Check your generator. Make sure it has been properly installed by a licensed electrician. Improperly installed generators can feed electricity back into power lines and pose a deadly situation for line and emergency restoration workers. Always operate generators outdoors to avoid carbon monoxide hazards. 

• 3:55 p.m.: 75 road closures across Darien

Darien's municipal log is currently showing 75 road closures across town due to flooding, downed wires, and fallen trees.

• 3:40 p.m.: No movement in outages

The number of Darien customers without power across town has leveled off at 4,667, according to CL&P, or 59 percent of the town.

• 3:10 p.m.: Darien Public Schools closed Monday

The long-awaited word from Darien Public Schools: schools will be closed on Monday, pushing back the planned first day of the new year.

• 12:57 p.m.: The latest from the National Weather Service

Though Hurricane Irene is a thing of the past, Darien and surrounding areas remain under a tropical storm warning. Here's the scoop from the National Weather Service:

DESTRUCTIVE SURF FROM HURRICANE IRENE WILL CONTINUE TO PUMMEL THE ATLANTIC FACING SHORELINES, WITH SEVERE BEACH EROSION AND WASHOVERS EXPECTED THROUGH TODAY. AS TROPICAL STORM IRENE DEPARTS, MAXIMUM WINDS ARE FORECAST TO BE IN THE 30 TO 40 MPH RANGE WITH GUSTS TO 55 MPH THROUGH LATE AFTERNOON. WINDS WILL DIMINISH THIS EVENING. MINOR DAMAGE MAY OCCUR TO OLDER MOBILE HOMES. ISOLATED POWER OUTAGES WILL BE POSSIBLE. GENERALLY 3 TO 7 FEET OF SURGE WAS OBSERVED ACROSS LONG ISLAND SOUND THIS MORNING. TIDAL LEVELS HAVE BEEN RECEDING, WITH THE REMAINING MODERATE TO MAJOR COASTAL FLOODING OVER WESTERN LONG ISLAND SOUND AND THE EASTERN SOUTH SHORE BACK BAYS GRADUALLY SUBSIDING THROUGH EARLY THIS AFTERNOON.

• 12:24 p.m.: 58 percent of Darien without power

CL&P's outage statistics just spiked substantially for Darien, as 4,607 customers (or 58 percent of the town) are said to be without power. 

That's the highest percentage so far during this storm, and higher than the outage rates seen during the March 2010 storms.

• 11:13 a.m.: Outages surpass 3,000 customers

CL&P reports that over 3,073 Darien customers are now without power, or 36 percent of the town.

• 10:59 a.m.: Flooding spreads, rendering roads impassable

As readers have been reporting (and as make clear), flooding in Darien is widespread, particularly in the low-lying portions of Noroton. The town's municipal closures log shows the following roads flooded out:

  • Renshaw Road
  • Bost Post Road & Tokeneke Road
  • 100 Rings End Rd.
  • Long Neck Point Road
  • Pear Tree Point Road
  • 170 Nearwater Ln.

• 10:51 a.m.: Additional downed power lines

Readers have added two more sets of downed power lines to our list, plus two more from the town's log:

  • Wilson Ridge Road East (in the cul de sec)
  • Walmsley Road
  • 130 Goodwives River Rd.
  • 27 Stanton Rd.

• 10:38 a.m.: Outage total climbs again

According to CL&P, 2,864 customers in Darien — or 36 percent of the town — have been left without power as a result of (now tropical storm) Irene.

• 10:33 a.m.: Police warn residents to stay indoors after storm

The is warning residents not to travel immediately after Irene passes through due to continued road hazards:

Numerous roads throughout Darien are closed as a result of Hurricane Irene. Flooding, power lines, and trees across roadways will make any attempt to travel ill-advised. Once the storm passes through Darien, please do not assume it is safe to go outside or travel. Stay indoors. Further advisories will be issued as warranted.

• 9:46 a.m.: Downed power lines abound

According to the town's road closures log, downed power lines have been reported at the following locations:

  • Leroy Avenue & Mystic Lane
  • Pleasant Street
  • Park Place & Fitch Avenue
  • 15 Rings End Rd.
  • Middlesex Road & Laurel Lane
  • Woodley Road
  • Deepwood Road & Hollow Tree Ridge Road
  • 22 Old Farm Rd.
  • 94 Gardiner Street

Know of any others? Send an email to johnd@patch.com or post the details in the comments.

• 9:24 a.m.: Outages top 2,500

At last count, some 2,574 customers were without power in Darien.

• 8:41 a.m.: 2,094 now without power

At last count, 2,094 CL&P customers were without power in Darien, or about 26 percent of the town.

• 8:14 a.m.: For more updates...

We're getting status updates about power, trees, and flooding from residents across town, but they're coming in faster than we can post here. For the most up-to-date information on conditions in Darien, follow our Twitter feed at: http://twitter.com/DarienPatch

• 7:48 a.m.: Fallen trees, downed lines, and blocked roads

If you're looking for the latest on road closures, flooding, fallen trees, and downed power lines, town officials are posting updated information here: http://municipalclosures.com/darien/

• 7:27 a.m.: Over 1,900 without power in town

The latest outage report from CL&P shows 1,962 Darien customers without power, or about 24 percent of the town. Statewide, some 263,000 outages have been reported.

Meanwhile, Gov. Dannel Malloy repeated his call Sunday morning for residents to stay put, arguing there is "absolutely no reason to be out on the roads."

Malloy has also ordered the Merritt Parkway closed and all tractor-trailers off the road by 7 a.m.

• 6:06 a.m.: At daybreak, worst of storm likely still ahead

The light outside is slowly growing, but the most intense effects of Irene likely still lie ahead of us. State officials are holding to their forecast of an 11 a.m.-ish landfall in the Stamford area:

At 5:15 AM the center of Hurricane Irene was located at 39.2 North 74.5 West (Approximately 115 Miles South Southwest of New York City). Irene has maximum sustained winds of 75 MPH and is moving to the North Northeast at 18 MPH. Irene is forecast to move up along the New Jersey Coast during the next 4 hours and make landfall in the Stamford area around 11:00 AM as a minimal Category I hurricane or a Strong Tropical Storm. At 5:00 AM winds along the coast were gusting to 51 MPH in Bridgeport. Hurricane force wind gusts may arrive along the coast by 9:00 AM. Very heavy rain at times (especially in Western Connecticut) is expected to continue from now through the passage of the center of Irene around 11:00 AM this morning and into the mid-afternoon.

• 5:47 a.m.: Multiple weather alerts remain in effect

The following alerts are still in effect for Darien at this hour:

• 5:42 a.m.: 'All is well here'

From Selectman Jayme Stevenson, who's manning the emergency shelter at :

"All is well here. About 30 residents are sheltering. DHS is still running on generated power."

• 5:23 a.m.: Over 1,600 now without power

Some 1,624 Darien customers — or about 20 percent of town — were without power at 5:30 a.m. Sunday, as Hurricane Irene's effects intensified across the area.

Numerous trees and wires were reported down across town, rendering many streets impassable. 

Some roads — particularly those in close proximity to the water — were flooded, as well, according to emergency transmissions.

CNN reports that nearly 3 million people up and down the Eastern Seaboard are without power.

• 3:21 a.m.: Trees blocking main roads

As of 3:20 a.m., the Darien Office of Emergency Management reports that nine major arteries in Darien were blocked by trees and/or power lines.

"Stay inside. Do not approach downed wires," the office advises.

Meanwhile, CL&P is telling local authorities that it will no longer send out crews to address downed wires due to the escalating winds brought by Irene. The company is advising emergency responders to barricade the sites of fallen power lines as best as possible.

• 3:00 a.m.: Power outages rise as trees begin to fall

Some 1,550 customers were without power in Darien as of 3 a.m., according to CL&P. That's about 19 percent of the town.

The increase coincides with several reports of fallen trees across town, including one on Middlesex Road and another on Hecker Ave. not far from the Darien Police Department.

• 2:00 a.m.: ...And again

1,260 customers are now without power in Darien, CL&P reports, representing 16 percent of customers in town and a ten-fold increase since last count.

Statewide, some 8,140 CL&P customers were reportedly without power at 2 a.m.

• 1:45 a.m.: Outages climb again

That didn't take long — the number of CL&P customers in Darien without power has ticked up to 124.

• 1:34 a.m.: Landfall expected in Stamford

The state's latest forecast projects Irene to make landfall around 10:30 a.m. in Stamford:

Irene is forecast to move up along the New Jersey Coast overnight and make landfall in the Stamford area around 10:30 AM as a minimal Category I hurricane. At 1:00 AM winds along the coast were gusting to 35 MPH in New London. Tropical Storm force wind gusts are expected to arrive along the coast by 2:00 AM. Hurricane force wind gusts are forecast to arrive along the coast by 8:00 AM. Very heavy rain at times (especially in Western Connecticut) is expected to continue from now through the passage of the center of Irene around 10:30 AM tomorrow morning and into the mid-afternoon.  

• 1:26 a.m.: Outages hold steady

After climbing to more than 600, the number of customers without power in Darien has stabilized at about 96, CL&P reports. However, that number is almost certain to climb as the storm continues to buffet the region with high winds and heavy rains.

• 12:18 a.m.: Flood warning in effect

The National Weather Service has — not surprisingly — issued a flood warning for the area due to the large amounts of precipitation that have already fallen (and the larger amounts still to come).

In case you're counting, that means Darien is under the following advisories:

From the NWS's flood warning:

At 1157 p.m. EDT, bands of heavy rain continue to circulate across the warning area. So far up to two inches of rainfall has fallen across the warning area,  and 5 to 8 inches of rainfall is expected through Sunday afternoon. Excessive runoff from heavy rainfall will cause elevated levels on small creeks and streams and ponding of water in urban areas, highways, streets, and underpasses as well as other poor drainage areas and low lying spots.

• 12:11 a.m.: About 30 people at the DHS Shelter

Selectman David Bayne, who was at the shelter earlier this evening, said that about 30 people had set up camp there by the time he left.

"More have come to look and said they may come back," Bayne wrote. "I would guess more will come in but the roads are starting to get bad."

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SATURDAY, AUG. 27

• 11:34 p.m.: Irene rolls in

Hurricane Irene began to make its presence known Saturday night, as heavy rains and increasingly strong winds lashed the Connecticut coastline.

Here's the latest from the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection:

At 11:15 PM the center of Hurricane Irene was located at 37.3 North 75.4 West (Approximately 255 Miles South Southwest of New York City). Irene has maximum sustained winds of 80 MPH and is moving to the North Northeast at 16 MPH. Irene has re-emerged back out over the Atlantic Coast. Irene is forecast to move up along the New Jersey Coast overnight and make landfall in the Stamford area around 10:30 AM as a minimal Category I hurricane. At 11:00 PM winds along the coast were gusting to 30 MPH in Bridgeport. Tropical Storm force winds are expected to arrive along the coast by 2:00 AM.  Hurricane force wind gusts are forecast to arrive along the coast by 8:00 AM Sunday morning. Very heavy rain at times (especially in Western Connecticut) is expected to continue from midnight tonight through the passage of the center of Irene around 10:30 AM tomorrow morning and into the mid-afternoon. After the passage of Irene a second period of strong West and Northwest winds is likely Sunday afternoon and early Sunday evening with wind gusts to 65 MPH at times.

• 10:18: Power outage diminishing

Just 94 customers are now without power in Darien, according to CL&P.

• 9:33 p.m.: Power restored to some

There may be hope yet for the 405 customers without power in Darien, as more than 200 just had their power restored.

A CL&P spokeswoman said crews are working "as quickly as possible" to restore power to the remainder before Irene arrives in earnest.

• 8:31 p.m.: Tornado watch issued

On top of everything else, a tornado watch is now in effect for the area through 5 a.m. Sunday.

• 8:17 p.m.: Power outages jump significantly

Make that 622 CL&P customers without power.

• 8:12 p.m.: Power outages already beginning

As of 8:15 p.m., CL&P was already showing 21 customers without power in Darien. Police are reporting burning wires on Middlesex Road near the Ox Ridge Hunt Club.

For those inclined to listen to emergency transmissions in Darien as the storm passes over, Tom Alessi offers a combined feed from Darien and New Canaan at http://The911Center.com

• 7:52 p.m.: Police: Residents who stay in flood-prone areas could be stranded

In a Code Red message sent out Saturday evening, the Darien Police Department warned that those who fail to evacuate from low-lying and flood-prone areas "may be left inaccessible to emergency services for an extended period of time."

If you're planning to evacuate to the Darien High School shelter or elsewhere, police have a simple message: "Do not wait."

• 6:44 p.m.: Malloy advises against non-essential traffic:

Gov. Dannel Malloy is recommending that all non-essential traffic be off of Connecticut's roadways by 7:35 p.m. Saturday.

• 5:28 p.m.: Darien High School shelter open

The shelter at Darien High School opened at 5 p.m. this evening. For details on access, pet policies, and transportation, see the post below. 

• 4:01 p.m.: Latest updates from town officials

Marc McEwan, director of Darien's Office of Emergency Management, released the following statement Saturday afternoon:

The Town of Darien is now under a hurricane warning. We are in constant communication with the State of Connecticut emergency operations center. The latest forecast models are now indicating rainfall of 8-10 inches, coastal storm surges of up to 6 feet and on top of 6-8 foot waves on Long Island Sound. This storm has the potential to be one of the most severe in recent history.
  • Shelter Information: The Town of Darien is opening an emergency shelter at Darien High School at 5PM. The access into the building will be the gym entrance located approximate to the tennis courts (driveway by Nutmeg Lane). The plan is to utilize the lower level south gym. When tropical storm winds arrive we fully expect to move occupants to the central lower level corridor for their safety. Please limit your belongings to the minimum items necessary i.e. toiletries, medications, eyeglasses, and identification, etc.
  • Health Issues & Sheltering If you are seeking shelter and have medical assistance from a home health aide or specialized equipment please plan on bringing all your required equipment/medical supplies and your health aide with you. We can only provide limited resources. Anyone with health issues requiring a higher level of care should seek out a facility that can assist you in your needs. 
  • Animals & Sheltering Those wishing to shelter along with their animals must bring with you your leashes, pet food supply and a valid rabies certificate for each animal. Animals will not be accepted without proper documentation. The animal shelter area is near to the human shelter area but is required to be separate. Animal crates and bowls will be provided.  You will have scheduled time to visit with your pet. 
  • Transportation For those who require transportation to the shelter, transportation can be arranged by calling the Darien Police routine phone number at 203-662-5300. Please make your arrangements as soon as possible.

• 3:14 p.m.: Irene vs. Gloria

On his blog, Way Too Much Weather, NBC Connecticut's Ryan Hanrahan writes some more about the differences and smiliarities between Hurricane Irene and 1985's Hurricane Gloria:

"In Gloria the wind was pretty much the only problem," Hanrahan writes. "The rain nearly completely missed Connecticut (it was a dry hurricane here) with only 0.62" of rain reported in Bridgeport!"

"In addition the duration of Gloria’s winds was very short. Bridgeport picked up the worst of that storm and only had >30 m.p.h. winds last for 5 hours while wind gusts >50 m.p.h. lasted 3.5 hours," he adds. "The combination of wet soil and a longer duration of max winds could make less wind just as damaging as Gloria’s wind."

For more, read the full post.

• 1:19 p.m.: Storm track shifts back towards Darien

Just like that, Hurricane Irene's projected landfall has shifted back in Darien's direction, according to the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. 

The eye of the storm is once again expected to crash into the Stamford area around 11 a.m. Sunday. Here's the full report:

Irene is forecast to move up along the New Jersey Coast early Sunday morning and make landfall in the Stamford area around 11:00 AM as a Category I hurricane. The first effects from Irene are still expected to begin this evening with heavier rain and tropical storm force winds moving into Connecticut between 10:00 PM and Midnight.  Hurricane force winds are forecast to arrive along the coast at 7:00 AM Sunday morning. Very heavy rain at times (especially in Western Connecticut) is expected to continue from midnight tonight through the passage of the center of Irene around 11:00 AM tomorrow morning and into the mid-afternoon. River flooding from Irene is forecast to be moderate to major with the more severe flooding on smaller rivers and in urban areas. Major coastal flooding is possible with storm surges of 4 to 7 feet possible in Western Long Island Sound during high tide Sunday morning at 11:00 AM.

• 11:50 a.m.: Surge expected to exceed '92 Nor'easter

The Darien Office of Emergency Management reports that state officials are expecting "slightly higher rainfall and storm surges than originally forecast."

The storm surge is projected to be one foot higher than the 1992 Nor'easter, according to the office.

• 11:31 a.m.: Malloy weighs travel ban

Gov. Dannel Malloy said Saturday that he is considering from state highways overnight as Irene churns up the coast.

• 10:25 a.m.: Storm track shifts slightly east

Irene's track has shifted very slightly eastward, according to the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, with the storm's expected landfall now expected around 11 a.m. Sunday in Bridgeport.

Here's the full report:

The first effects from Irene are expected to begin this evening with rain and tropical storm force winds moving into Connecticut between 10:00 PM and Midnight. Hurricane force winds are forecast to arrive along the coast at 7:00 AM Sunday morning. The rain is also expected to become heavy at times by midnight. Very heavy rain at times (especially in Western Connecticut) is expected to continue from midnight tonight through the passage of the center of Irene around 11:00 AM tomorrow morning and into the mid-afternoon. River flooding from Irene is forecast to be moderate to major with the more severe flooding on smaller rivers and in urban areas. Major coastal flooding is possible with storm surges of 4 to 7 feet possible in Western Long Island Sound during high tide Sunday morning at 11:00 AM.

• 9:34 a.m.: Darien officials discuss emergency preparedness

Darien selectmen and emergency personnel, meeting Saturday morning at Town Hall, relayed the following information (more to come): 

  • If you've been told to evacuate, you should do so now.
  • Firefighters will be unable to rescue people if winds reach excessive speeds and in areas of extreme flooding.
  • Nearwater Lane and other low-lying will likely be impassable due to the storm surge.
  • Darien High School, which will be open as a shelter starting at 5 p.m. Saturday, can hold up to 830 people.
  • Those going to the DHS shelter should bring medicine, eyegasses, and important papers that they cannot afford to lose in a flood.
  • Don't venture outside during the storm. Stay indoors!

• 8:46 a.m.: Obama declares state of emergency in Connecticut

President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in Connecticut, a move that marshals federal aid for the state in advance of Hurricane Irene.

• 8:00 a.m.: Selectmen to meet shortly

An hour from now, Darien's Board of Selectmen, town officials, and emergency personnel are set to meet at to discuss preparations for Hurricane Irene. The meeting will be broadcast on , and we'll bring you key updates and a full wrap as soon as possible.

In the meantime: how are your preparations going? Are you finding the supplies you need at area stores? What are your biggest concerns about the storm? Let us know in the comments section below, or drop a note to johnd@patch.com.

• 7:17 am.: Ominous warning from the National Weather Service

"Make the final preparations to protect life and property," the National Weather Service warns residents in the path of Hurricane Irene. Suffice it to say: not your average forecast.

• Saturday, 5:51 a.m.: Landfall projected for Stamford area

Good morning. Irene is expected to make landfall around 11 a.m. Sunday in the Stamford area, according to the latest forecast from the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection:

Irene is forecast to move up along the New Jersey Coast early Sunday morning and make landfall in the Stamford area around 11:00 AM as a Category I hurricane. The first effects from Irene are expected to begin tomorrow evening with rain and wind moving into Connecticut between 8:00 PM and Midnight. The rain is expected to become heavy at times by midnight. Very heavy rain at times is expected to continue from midnight on Saturday through the passage of the center of Irene late Sunday morning (especially in Western Connecticut) and into Sunday afternoon. Tropical storm force winds are expected to enter the state around midnight Saturday night and hurricane force winds are expected just after daybreak on Sunday.

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FRIDAY, AUG. 26

• 11:54 p.m.: No decision yet on Monday's start of school

One question on the minds of many Darien parents and students: will schools be closed on Monday (the first scheduled day of the new school year)? Unfortunately, it's a wait-and-see scenario for now.

"We hope that the hurricane that is predicted to impact our area this weekend leaves us with minimal damage and disruption," the district wrote on its website Friday. "You are urged to check the Darien Public Schools website and/or local media on Sunday evening and Monday morning regarding possible school closings or delays due to weather or emergency situations. Families can also receive e-mails or text messages by using the Ed-Alert notification system."

On Thursday, Superintendent Stephen Falcone said that administrators "will make a decision as early as possible, but it very well could be early Monday a.m."

In any event, we'll let you know as soon as a call is made.

• 9:14 p.m.: Gov. Malloy likens Irene to legendary past storms

In a press conference Friday, Gov. Dannel Malloy said Hurricane Irene represents the kind of storm that the state hasn’t seen since the hurricane of 1938.

“We have not seen this kind of activity here in a long time, nor have we seen a storm of this size, one carrying so much water and great challenges since 1938 or the 1950s. People need to understand that we are going to feel the affects of this. This has the potential of becoming a serious wind condition and a serious rain condition.”

Malloy reiterated his call for residents in low-lying areas to voluntarily evacuate. He said the state does not believe a mandatory evacuation order is needed.

As part of its emergency response planning, Malloy is deploying some 700 Connecticut National Guardsmen. Of those, 200 have already reported for duty at the Armory and another 500 will report on Monday. Some of those guard units, Malloy said, include urban search and rescue soldiers.

“In effect, we are activating our military."

The Connecticut State Police are also taking special steps to respond to emergencies during the hurricane, spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said. The state police have set their emergency operations plan into motion, which includes putting all state troopers on alert and on call during the next few days.

In addition, Vance said, the department has strategically located specialized equipment around the state for quick response times to emergencies, including boats, four-wheel drives, off road vehicles, generators, and search and rescue k-9 teams.

• 6:55 p.m.: Landfall now projected for Stamford area

Hurricane Irene is now projected to make landfall around 11 a.m. Sunday in the Stamford area, according to the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

The first effects are expected between 8 p.m. and midnight on Saturday, followed by tropical storm force winds in the early morning and hurricane force winds by daybreak. Storm surges of 4 to 7 feet are predicted on top of a high tide Sunday morning.

Here's the full statement: 

Irene is forecast to move up along the New Jersey Coast early Sunday morning and make landfall in the Stamford area around 11:00 AM as a Category I hurricane. The first effects from Irene are expected to begin Saturday evening with rain and wind moving into Connecticut between 8:00 PM and Midnight. The rain is expected to become heavy at times by midnight. Heavy rain is expected to continue from midnight on Saturday through the passage of the center of Irene late Sunday morning (especially in Western Connecticut) and into Sunday afternoon. Tropical storm force winds are expected to enter the state around midnight Saturday night and hurricane force winds are expected just after daybreak on Sunday. River flooding from Irene is forecast to be moderate to major with the more severe flooding on smaller rivers and in urban areas. Major coastal flooding is possible with storm surges of 4 to 7 feet possible in Long Island Sound during high tide Sunday morning.

• 6:18 p.m.: Hurricane watch upgraded to warning

At 6 p.m., the National Weather Service took the (nearly inevitable) step of issuing a hurricane warning for Fairfield County and the rest of Connecticut's coastline. A flood watch is also in effect.

From the service's statement:

A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED WITHIN THE NEXT 36 HOURS SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE SPECIFIED AREAS. ALL PERSONS IN THE WARNING AREAS SHOULD ALREADY HAVE PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY. FOR THOSE UNDER A WATCH OR WARNING...NOW IS THE TIME TO INITIATE PREPARATIONS ACCORDING TO YOUR HURRICANE DISASTER PLAN SPECIFIC TO YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS. IT IS IMPORTANT TO ACTIVELY LISTEN FOR FORTHCOMING INFORMATION FROM YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY. MARINERS ARE URGED TO MAKE ALL NECESSARY PREPARATIONS TO RETURN TO PORT...SEEK SAFE HARBOR...AND SECURE THEIR CRAFT.

• 5:01 p.m.: More updates from the Town of Darien

  • Beaches will be closed on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and all day Sunday.
  • Darien schools will be closed for all activities on Sunday.
  • Darien High School north and south gym area will be open as a shelter at 5:00 p.m. Saturday.
  • Darien Library will be closed from noon Staurday through Sunday.
  • Sand bags will be available to Darien residents, in limited supply, at the Transfer Station until 4:00 p.m. Saturday.

• 4:53 p.m.: Darien to open shelter at high school, advises evacuations

Marc McEwan, director of Darien's Office of Emergency Management, released the following statement Friday afternoon:

The Town of Darien is under a hurricane watch. We expect the watch to be upgraded to a warning over the next 12 hours. We are in constant communication with the State of Connecticut. The storm is forecast to bring a significant amount of rainfall (7-9 inches), coastal storm surges of up to 4 feet and 6-8 foot waves on Long Island Sound. This storm has the potential to be one of the most severe in recent history. High winds resulting in tree damage and widespread power outages are also expected. Information will be available via the town’s homepage (www.darienct.gov), TV channel 79, and local media outlets. We highly recommend the following:
  • If you live in an area prone to coastal or inland flooding, make plans to evacuate to higher elevations by early Saturday afternoon.  
  • If you require medical assistance, please make appropriate care arrangements and be sure to have an adequate supply of oxygen or other medical necessities on hand.  
  • We urge residents to call 911 only in an actual life threatening emergency. Please use routine phone numbers for all other purposes. Darien’s emergency crews will be operating under state guidelines for storms and will cease to operate when it becomes too dangerous to do so safely.  
  • Power issues should be reported directly into Connecticut Light & Power at 800-286-2000. 
  • Stay home. Limit travel for emergency purposes only.  Emergency, utility and maintenance crews will be active. 
  • Stay clear of downed wires and trees. Treat all wires as energized and highly likely to injure or potentially kill. 
  • The Town of Darien is expecting to open an emergency shelter at Darien High School. The shelter will be open by 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.

4:41 p.m.: Scenes from around town

Patch's Kara Billhardt made the rounds Friday to see how Darien was prepping for the arrival of Hurricane Irene.

• 2:40 p.m.: Darien Library to close Saturday at noon

From the Darien Library: "Darien Library will be closing at noon on Saturday and will be closed on Sunday because of Hurricane Irene. If the Library has power on Monday, we will open as usual."

• 2:34 p.m.: Residents flock to local supermarkets

Bread, milk, bottled water, and toilet paper were fast disappearing from local supermarkets Friday as residents prepared to weather Hurricane Irene and its aftermath.

announced that it would extend its hours to 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday in light of the approaching storm.

1:48 p.m.: Metro-North to shut down Saturday at noon

Metro-North operation will cease Satuday at noon in advance of Irene's arrival, according to the MTA. 

The shutdown will also affect Long Island railroad and the New York subway and bus systems.

• 1:25 p.m.: Projected landfall moves closer to Darien

As of 12:30 p.m., the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection projects Irene to make landfall at Norwalk around 10 a.m. Sunday — closer to Darien than earlier predicted:

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is now forecasting that Irene will remain a Category II hurricane today and remain a Category II hurricane until the storm passes over the outer banks of Cape Hatteras around 11:00 AM Saturday morning. Irene is then forecast to move up along the immediate East Coast and arrive in the Norwalk area around 10:00 AM Sunday morning as a Category I hurricane.  The first effects from Irene are still expected to begin Saturday afternoon with light rain which is expected to become heavy at times by midnight.  Heavy rain is expected to continue from midnight on Saturday through the passage of the center of Irene Sunday morning (especially in Western Connecticut).  Tropical storm force winds are expected to enter the state around midnight Saturday night and hurricane force winds are expected just after daybreak on Sunday. Although forecast confidence is getting better with each update, Irene is still 2 days away and additional changes to the track forecast are possible.

• 11:55 a.m.: Health officials issue food safety tips

Darien Director of Health David Knauf sent along these water and food safety tips from the Food and Drug Administration in the event of a flood or prolonged power outage.

• 10:42 a.m.: Special thanks to volunteers across town

We referred below to town employees getting ready for Hurricane Irene's arrival, but we were remiss in not mentioning the firefighters, medical responders, and other volunteers putting in extraordinary efforts across town (and preparing to do much more). Our thanks and kudos go out to you ahead of what promises to be a dangerous storm.

• 10:27 a.m.: Selectmen to hold emergency meeting

The Board of Selectmen is set to hold an emergency meeting regarding hurricane preparations Saturday at 9 a.m. in Town Hall room 206, according to selectman David Bayne. Town personnel and responders will be in attendance.

Meanwhile, Connecticut's Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection has moved up its projection for Irene's arrival in Connecticut, with landfall now expected around 11 a.m. Sunday in the vicinity of Bridgeport:

The National Hurricane Center is forecasting that Irene will intensify back up to a Category III hurricane today and remain a Category III hurricane until the storm passes over the outer banks of Cape Hatteras around 5:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Irene is then forecast to move up along the immediate East Coast and arrive in the Bridgeport area around 11:00 a.m. Sunday morning as a strong Category I hurricane. The first effects from Irene are still expected to begin Saturday afternoon with light rain which is expected to become heavy at times by midnight. Heavy rain is expected to continue from midnight on Saturday through the passage of the center of Irene late Sunday morning (especially in Western Connecticut). Tropical storm force winds are expected to enter the state before daybreak on Sunday and hurricane force winds are expected by mid morning on Sunday. Although forecast confidence is getting better with each update, Irene is still 2 days away and additional changes to the track forecast are possible.

• Friday, 5:30 a.m.: Hurricane watch in effect

It should come as little surprise to anyone who's been following Irene's track, but the National Weather Service has officially issued a hurricane watch for the Connecticut coast.

The National Hurricane Center's latest bulletin on Irene puts its maximum sustained winds at 110 mph. The storm, now a category 2, is expected to make a gradual turn toward the north-northeast Friday, during which "some re-intensification is possible."

"The core of the hurricane will ... approach the coast of North Carolina tonight and pass near or over the North Carolina coast Saturday," the center warns.

Irene's effects could be felt in Connecticut as soon as Saturday, with winds expected to reach hurricane strength Sunday afternoon and landfall estimated at 5 p.m. that day. The storm is forecast to be a category 1 hurricane by the time it reaches the area.

Six to ten inches of rain are likely, the center reports, with isolated amounts of up to 15 possible.

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THURSDAY, AUG. 25

• 10:15 p.m.: Malloy declares state of emergency

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a declaration of emergency Thursday afternoon in anticipation of Hurricane Irene’s landfall.

According to a statement from the governor’s office, the declaration gives Malloy broad powers to act during an emergency, including:

  • The ability to order evacuations of all or part of the population of a stricken or threatened area and take necessary steps for receipt and care of evacuees
  • The ability to modify or suspend any state statute, regulation, or requirement (for example: altering work hours, waiving licensing requirements, etc.)
  • The ability to order civil preparedness forces into action
  • The ability to designate vehicle and person routes and movements

“The forecast path of Hurricane Irene has convinced me that the signing of this declaration is necessary, and will help us react more quickly and effectively in the event of a serious weather event,” Malloy said in the statement.

The governor also announced Thursday that state campgrounds would close at noon Saturday and state parks would close at nighfall that night because of the impending storm.

The state has also launched a website to keep Connecticut residents updated on the hurricane’s potential track and the administration’s public-safety efforts.

• 6:16 p.m.: Irene could be worse than Gloria

On his blog, Way Too Much Weather, NBC Connecticut's Ryan Hanrahan writes that the most likely scenario for Hurricane Irene "is a direct hit as severe or more severe than Gloria."

"Winds of this magnitude will likely be as strong or stronger than what we experienced during Hurricane Gloria," the meteorologist adds. "The wet soil and long duration of winds will make trees very susceptible to either being uprooted or damaged."

Hanrahan also writes that, due to the particularly high tides brought about by the new moon, "we should prepare for a category higher of storm surge than would typically be expected from a cat 1 or 2."

While no warnings or watches have yet been issued for Connecticut, the National Hurricane Center now puts the probability of Fairfield County experiencing tropical storm force winds at 50 to 60 percent.

The storm is still projected to make landfall in the area around 5 p.m. Sunday, according to the latest bulletin from the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

• 4:01 p.m.: Past Connecticut hurricanes

Trying to remember the last hurricane that struck Connecticut? It was Bob, a category 2 storm that crossed through the state just over 20 years ago.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, just nine hurricanes have hit the Nutmeg State since 1851:

  • Unnamed (1): Sept. 16, 1858
  • Unnamed (1):  Sept. 8, 1869
  • Unnamed (3): Sept. 21, 1938
  • Unnamed (3): Sept. 15, 1944
  • Carol (3): Aug. 31, 1954
  • Donna (2): Sept. 12, 1960
  • Belle (1): Aug. 10, 1976
  • Gloria (2): Sept. 27, 1985
  • Bob (2): Aug. 19, 1991

• 2:48 p.m.: Town officials making preparations

Marc McEwan, director of Darien's Office of Emergency Management, said Thursday that the town is taking numerous steps to prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Irene.

First Selectman Dave Campbell has called a meeting of department heads to review preparations, McEwan said. Town employees are also performing equipment inspections, checking fuel stores, and keeping in touch with state officials, among other measures.

"We could lose power in the area for several days," McEwan warned, likening the hurricane's possible impact to that of the March 2010 storms. Residents should ensure that they have sufficient food and supplies in case that happens, he said.

If an evacuation call is made, McEwan added, people should be prepared to leave on short notice.

McEwan advised residents to pay attention to local media outlets and be on the lookout for possible Code Red and Nixle alerts from the town.

• 12:13 p.m.: Storm's projected landfall moved up

Connecticut's Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection has moved up its projected arrival of Irene, which it now forecasts to make landfall around 5 p.m. Sunday as a category 1 storm.

Here's the latest from the DESPP:

Irene is forecast to move North on Friday and Saturday crossing the outer banks of Cape Hatteras around 6:00 PM Saturday night. Irene is then forecast to move up along the immediate East Coast and arrive in the Stamford area around 5:00 PM Sunday afternoon as a Category I hurricane. The first effects from Irene are expected to begin Saturday afternoon with light rain which is expected to become heavy at times by midnight. Heavy rain is expected to continue from midnight on Saturday through the passage of the center of Irene late Sunday afternoon (especially in Western Connecticut). Tropical storm force winds are expected to enter the state late Sunday morning and hurricane force winds are expected by mid afternoon on Sunday. Although forecast confidence is getting better with each update, Irene is still 3 days away and additional changes to the track forecast are likely.

• 10:18 a.m.: School decision will come 'as early as possible'

Darien Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Falcone said that administrators will be monitoring the storm over the weekend to decide how Monday — the first day of the new school year — will be affected by the storm.

"Much like a snowstorm, we will make a decision as early as possible, but it very well could be early Monday a.m.," Falcone said in an email.

• 10:08 a.m.: Tips on hurricane preparedness

Marc McEwan, director of Darien's Office of Emergency Management, offered the following preparedness tips on Thursday:

  • Make sure if you’re prone to flooding that you take the time now to check your sump pumps etc.
  • Plan for a few days of no power, check your generator if you have one. Ensure a sufficient fuel supply as well.
  • Take the time to check and secure items around the exterior of the home/business (lawn furniture, etc.) that could fly around in a strong wind causing damage.
  • If you are a boat owner, make sure that it is secured to its dock or mooring and that the bilge pump is working properly.
  • Take the time to check flashlights, batteries, and battery powered radio.
  • "If we find the need to relocate, we will be ready?" That is one question everyone should take the time to prepare for now. Get a “Go Kit” ready, make sure you have items like medicine, eye glasses etc. for a short stay with someone, or even potentially at a shelter if it becomes necessary.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, consult "Surviving the Storm," a guide published by FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security.

• 9:08 a.m.: Irene expected to arrive as category 1

Hurricane Irene is expected to have maximum sustained winds of about 90 mph when it makes landfall (or its closest approach) Sunday night, Connecticut's Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection said Thursday. That would make the storm a strong category 1 hurricane.

Below is the complete forecast from DESPP, issued at 8:15 a.m.:

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is forecasting that Irene will intensify today and reach Category IV by early Friday morning. Irene is then forecast to move North on Friday and Saturday crossing the outer banks of Cape Hatteras around midnight Saturday night. Irene is then forecast to move up the East Coast and make landfall in the New Haven area around 10:00 p.m. Sunday night as a strong Category I hurricane. The first effects from Irene are expected to begin Saturday afternoon with light rain which is expected to become heavy at times by midnight. Heavy rain is expected to continue from midnight on Saturday through the passage of the center of Irene Sunday night just before midnight. Tropical storm force winds are expected to enter the state Sunday afternoon and hurricane force winds are expected by Sunday evening. Although forecast confidence is getting better, Irene is still 3 days away and additional changes to the track forecast are likely.

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WEDNESDAY, AUG. 24

• 10:45 a.m.: Town looks to minimize storm's impact

Marc McEwan, director of Darien's Office of Emergency Management, sent an email to town employees and officials Wednesday morning advising them to make preparations "to minimize impacts from the storm."

"If you have a generator, run it and check it over, ensure a sufficient fuel supply, check your sump pumps, [and] secure your outside loose items like lawn furniture, etc.," McEwan advised.

"If you’re a boater, check your dock lines, mooring tackle etc. Don’t forget to have a 'GO KIT,' in case you must relocate out of the storm’s path," he wrote.

Meanwhile, Irene was upgraded to a category 3 hurricane Wednesday, with sustained wins of 120 mph.

• 8:45 a.m.: Hurricane Irene expected to pass through region 

Hurricane Irene — presently a category two hurricane centered southeast of the Bahamas — could roll into the region late this weekend, if National Weather Service projections hold.

The National Hurricane Center's latest warning cone indicates Irene may affect Connecticut late Sunday or early Monday, with the storm potentially still at hurricane strength when it passes through.

As of 5 a.m. Wednesday, Irene's maximum sustained winds were at 110 mph, with hurricane force winds extending up to 40 miles from the center. The storm was expected to intensify as it makes a gradual turn to the northwest today, forecasters said.

No warnings were in effect for the U.S. mainland as of Wednesday morning, but the hurricane center expects the storm to pass along the Eastern Seaboard this weekend.

The center also gives Fairfield County a 20-30 percent chance of experiencing tropical storm-force between now and 2 a.m. Monday.

"Heavy rain, strong winds, and coastal flooding could begin as early as late Saturday," the NWS warns. "Additional impacts from this system could be significant beach erosion [and] high surf with dangerous rip currents, which could begin as early as Friday night as large swells from Irene begin to arrive."

Joe Pankowski August 26, 2011 at 01:03 PM
...thanks for the superior local coverage of the preparations for Irene. If you get the chance, a good story would be about how Olive Hauser and the Department of Social Services partner with the Darien Police Department to check-in on some of our seniors during this kind of event.
Tom Valentino August 26, 2011 at 03:09 PM
I had heard the heads of departments were contacted at 9:30am for the 3:30 meeting by selectman Jerry Nielsen but he didn't contact the two democratic selectmen for the meeting until 2:30pm just before it that it was going to be held momentarily Can anyone confirm this and explain it?
Darien Voter August 26, 2011 at 08:06 PM
I thought the meeting is tomorrow at 9 am?
John Boulton August 26, 2011 at 08:12 PM
Tom, please. Get a life.
Jim Cameron August 26, 2011 at 08:22 PM
Darien TV79 will provide live coverage of the Saturday 9 am meeting at Town Hall and re-air the meeting during the day. Stay tuned to TV79 for more updates.
Johnny PorkChop August 26, 2011 at 08:27 PM
Any confirmation on Avalon being evacuated?
Karen Boccadoro August 27, 2011 at 03:02 PM
I wish we had a better idea of who should evacuate, past the people who live right on the water.
sebastian dangerfield August 28, 2011 at 09:34 AM
Tom ! You ve got to be kidding? Now the Dtc members are spreading misinformation even about the storm? Is there anything you guys say that is truthful?
Karen Brewer August 28, 2011 at 06:54 PM
anyone know what if anything is open in town?
George Reilly August 28, 2011 at 07:46 PM
The Superintendent has announced that schools will not open tomorrow.
Power to the People August 29, 2011 at 01:34 PM
As someone who has quite recently moved to the US it still surprises me that most of the power lines in a highly populated town like Darien are above the ground, hanging among the trees. With proper infrastructure and cables in the ground, there would not be so extensive power outages every time there is a storm. "Power to the People"

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