Update, 3:00 p.m., Friday:
Here are some pictures (attached to this article) of a tree that went down near the firefighter statue, contributed by John Tibbetts.
Update 9:27 p.m., Thursday:
Headline: Worst of the Storm Appears to Have Passed [UPDATE]
The National Weather Service now states in a "Special Weather Statement": "The severe weather threat has ended," and rain with thunderstorms can be expected for the rest of the evening.
Update 9:22 p.m.:
Darien customers without power are now down to six, according to CL&P.
Update 8:59 p.m.:
Rachel Frank, meteorologist with Fox Connecticut television, tweets on Twitter that all severe storm warnings and watches have been canceled in Connecticut. While scattered storms remain, she says, they are not severe.
The National Weather Service website does not currently reflect that statement.
9:01 p.m.: Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan also says all severe storm warnings and watches have been canceled. Cablevision News 12 says the same.
Update 8:44 p.m.:
Metro-North on Twitter states: "New Canaan Branch is currently experiencing delays of up to 40 minutes due to branches fouling overhead wires in the vicinity of New Canaan."
Update 8:39 p.m.:
According to New York 1 Weather, all thunderstorm warnings are over in the five boroughs of New York City. Connecticut authorities report that at 8:25 p.m. a strong thunderstorm was rolling through Saybrook in Eastern Connecticut.
Update 8:26 p.m.:
A New Canaan Line Metro-North train is stuck near the intersection of Hoyt and Wakemore streets, a Patch reader, Cara Cox, writes.
Update 8:19 p.m.:
The National Weather Service severe thunderstorm watch remains in effect until 11 p.m. for Fairfield County.
The current featured image for this article is the National Weather Service radar map from 8:07 p.m., just 12 minutes ago.
Update 8:11 p.m.:
The National Weather Service has canceled the tornado watch for Connecticut, according to the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.
Update 7:56 p.m.:
Currently 32 customers without power in Darien, 94 in Stamford, more than 1,000 in Norwalk, according to CL&P.
Update 7:01 p.m.:
The National Weather Service issued this Thunderstorm Warning at 6:46 p.m.:
646 PM EDT THU JUL 26 2012 ...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 715 PM EDT FOR FAIRFIELD... PASSAIC... WESTCHESTER... BERGEN... ESSEX... ROCKLAND AND PUTNAM COUNTIES...
AT 641 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR CONTINUED TO INDICATE A LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL...AND DESTRUCTIVE WINDS IN EXCESS OF 70 MPH. THESE STORMS ARE CURRENTLY ON A LINE FROM PUTNAM COUNTY TO WESTERN PASSAIC COUNTY...AND ARE MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 45 MPH.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM. IF YOU ARE IN ITS PATH...PREPARE IMMEDIATELY FOR DAMAGING WINDS...DESTRUCTIVE HAIL...AND DEADLY CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING. PEOPLE OUTSIDE SHOULD MOVE TO A SHELTER... PREFERABLY INSIDE A STRONG BUILDING BUT AWAY FROM WINDOWS.
IN ADDITION TO LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS...CONTINUOUS CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING IS OCCURRING WITH THIS STORM. MOVE INDOORS IMMEDIATELY! LIGHTNING IS ONE OF NATURE'S NUMBER ONE KILLERS. REMEMBER...IF YOU CAN HEAR THUNDER...YOU ARE CLOSE ENOUGH TO BE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING.
THIS STORM HAS A HISTORY OF PRODUCING DESTRUCTIVE WINDS AND LARGE DAMAGING HAIL. SEEK SHELTER NOW INSIDE A STURDY STRUCTURE AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS! A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1100 PM THURSDAY EVENING FOR SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT AND NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY AND SOUTHEAST NEW YORK.
Update 5:32 p.m.:
The latest Darien-specific forecast for tonight from the National Weather Service, as of 4:56 p.m.:
"Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Some storms could be severe, with large hail, damaging winds, and heavy rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 74. Southwest wind 7 to 17 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible."
Update 4:33 p.m.:
There's a chance that we may get a tornado, according to the National Weather Service. The Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security says this is hot to spot one:
"1. Dark, often greenish sky 2. Wall cloud 3. Large hail 4. Cloud of debris. 5. Funnel cloud. 6. Roaring noise."
"Tornado Safety: safest place at home is the interior part of basement. If no basement, go to an inside room w/out windows, on lowest floor."
Update 3:16 p.m.:
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced he will partially activate the state’s Emergency Operations Center at 3:30 p.m. to monitor and manage any problems if they arise as a result of possible severe weather predicted for the afternoon.
At this point, the sun is shining in Darien, but severe thunderstorms are expected to roll through at some points in the afternoon or evening, according to the National Weather Service.
Opening the operations center "will allow us to better coordinate with municipalities and state agencies, and respond quickly should we have power outages or other damage from these potential storms," Malloy said in a news release.
"I encourage Connecticut residents to closely monitor weather conditions throughout the day and evening, and take proper precautions to stay safe,” the governor said.
The Emergency Operations Center will be staffed by personnel from the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Division of the State Police, Department of Public Health, Department of Transportation, Military Department, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, State Fire Coordination, Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating.
Update 3:06 p.m.:
Connecticut Light & Power says it is preparing for possible power outages and is asking residents to prepare as well.
“It will be a very strong, very quick-moving storm,” said Mitch Gross. “There’s potential for damage throughout the state. We’re preparing to be very busy later this evening.”
He doesn’t know the severity of the weather, but, he said, “We’re preparing all our people, all our processes, all our equipment, all our everything.”
CL&P customers can report outages by calling 800-286-2000.
The most problematic possibility for the utility companies is strong wind.
“The rain is not as much concern as the rains when they exceed 40 mph,” said Michael West, director of communications at CL&P's sister utility in the New Haven area, United Illuminating. “That starts to pose some different challenges.”
"All CL&P employees stand ready to assist in the restoration effort and the company has already begun reaching out to other utilities, including our sister companies in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, for additional utility crews," the CL&P said in a news release Thursday afternoon.
"We want our customers to know that we’re closely monitoring weather forecasts and are prepared to respond quickly and safely in the event of widespread power outages," CL&P Senior Vice-President of Emergency Preparedness Bill Quinlan said in the news release.
"Our town liaisons will be in direct communication with each community we serve throughout the storm to keep them updated on restoration efforts," Quinln said. "We will also be coordinating closely with state and municipal officials to keep them informed."
Severe thunderstorms are forecast for today as part of a "Hazardous Weather Outlook" issued by the National Weather Service for the region, including southern Connecticut.
There is a moderate risk for severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening, with damaging winds and heavy rain expected. Large hail is possible as well and an "isolated tornado cannot be ruled out," according to the National Weather Service.
The unstable weather is being caused by a system moving in from the Great Lakes region. While a line of storms may move through the area later this morning, much of the stormy weather is expected to develop late afternoon, and continue into the evening, according to the NWS.
Here’s the weather service's specific forecast for Darien as of 7:56 a.m., through the weekend:
- Today: "A chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before noon. Some storms could be severe, with large hail, damaging winds, and heavy rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 86. Southwest wind 8 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent."
- Tonight: "Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly before 10pm. Some storms could be severe, with large hail, damaging winds, and heavy rain. Cloudy, with a low around 75. West wind 5 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent." New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.
- Friday: "A chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 10am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 88. West wind 5 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent."
- Friday night: "A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 70. South wind around 7 mph becoming north after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent."
- Saturday: "A chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 79. Northeast wind around 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent."
- Saturday night: "A chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 10pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 70. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent."
- Sunday: "Mostly sunny, with a high near 81."
- Sunday night: "Partly cloudy, with a low around 68."