If you’re going anywhere today or evacuating your home in advance of Hurricane Irene, be sure to be off the roads by sunset, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy warned Saturday morning.
During one of several press briefings planned for today, Malloy said he is considering banning all non-emergency traffic from state highways overnight as Irene churns up the coast, and he broadened his plea for voluntary evacuations to those who live near rivers and streams.
“We will start to get high winds sometime after 9 p.m,” he said. “Try to be off the road by the time the sun goes down. We will be considering a full ban of all non-emergency vehicles….sometime early in the morning Sunday.”
Irene has the potential to bring tides of up to two feet higher than normal along Long Island Sound, he said, and the hurricane could end up being more severe than the “perfect storm” of the early 1990s.
“We are most concerned about flooding at this point.”
He called the storm a “major risk facing Connecticut,” particularly for shoreline towns from East Haven to Greenwich.
“We are in the process right now of talking to all communities in the lower Sound … making sure all the necessary steps, including evacuations, are underway,” he said. “I am pleading with folks to understand the implications of this storm.”
Malloy on Thursday declared a state of emergency and has ordered that all bus service be suspended by 8 p.m. Metro North trains will stop running at noon today and Shoreline East trains will stop runnng at 8 p.m.
In addition, President Barack Obama has also declared a federal state of emergency in Connecticut in advance of Irene’s landfall, a move that clears the way for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist state officials and it gives the state access to federal funds for cleanup after the storm.
Malloy said FEMA officials have been in the state for the last 24 hours, helping to coordinate storm preparation efforts.
In addition, Malloy has called up 700 of Connecticut’s National Guard soldiers. Of those, 200 will be deployed by Sunday morning and the rest on Monday.
The governor will give two more storm updates today in the later afternoon and at 9 p.m.