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Christmas Storm Bringing Heavy Rain, Strong Winds To Connecticut

A file photo of a recent power outage in Winsted, Conn.
Joe Amon
/
Connecticut Public
A file photo of a recent power outage in Winsted, Conn.

Connecticut is waking up on Christmas morning to heavy rainfall and strong winds as a cold front moves through, according to the National Weather Service. More than 33,000 customers are without power as of 6:30 a.m.Heavy winds started Thursday evening with forecasted wind gusts of up to 65 mph, especially along the coast, according to state officials. Travel is expected to be difficult, and the mix of snow and high temperatures could cause fog. Power lines and trees also could be affected. 

River, road and basement flooding are concerns due to the combination of heavy rain and melting snow. Wind gusts will become stronger and more frequent prior to sunrise on Friday. The peak wind gusts will occur in most locations from 6 to 9 in the morning. There will likely be power outages, so be sure to charge your phone and have a flashlight next to your bed.

 

Utility company Eversource announced earlier this week that it is prepared for the storm, and crews will be prepositioned to help repair any damage. 

“We recognize the last thing anyone wants is another storm, especially on Christmas. We’re taking all necessary actions now -- including canceling employee vacation and working to secure out-of-state crews -- so our team is ready to respond to whatever this storm may bring,” Craig Hallstrom, Eversource president of regional electric operations, said in a news release. 

 

Eversource is encouraging customers to prepare a storm kit with essential items and charge all necessary devices. Any outside ornaments or decorations should be secured or brought inside. 

 

Rainfall is predicted to be anywhere from 2 to 4 inches, and combined with the melting snow from last week’s nor’easter, small stream flooding is possible through Friday at noon, according to state officials. Flooding of some larger rivers is also a possibility and may not subside until Friday night or Saturday. Flood levels will be updated Friday afternoon. 

 

Towns across the state are asking residents to be mindful of the weather as the storm progresses.

 

In a news conference Thursday, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin called on residents to help minimize any flooding. While the Hartford Department of Public Works is addressing as many storm drains as they can, Bronin said residents can help, too. 

 

“If you can go out and check the storm drains outside of your house and see if they are clear, it can make a big difference. Think about your neighbors around you, those seniors around you and those that may need to access the streets,” Bronin said. “And what’s more 2020 than spending a little bit of Christmas Eve cleaning a storm drain.” 

 

The storm is expected to wind down by Friday at 11:00 a.m. with lighter rain and wind gusts of 30 to 40 mph.

 

Tucker Ives contributed to this report.

Camila Vallejo is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms. She is a bilingual reporter based out of Fairfield County and welcomes all story ideas at cvallejo@ctpublic.org.

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