Hurricane Sandy's worst will hit Connecticut sooner than anticipated, the Connecticut Emergency Operations Center reported this afternoon.
In a call with town officials, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the storm is moving faster than originally predicted and will likely have Category 2 strength when its strongest winds hit the region around 5:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. The hurricane is expected to bring a six- to 11-foot storm surge, with Western Connecticut getting the worst of it. The brunt of the storm will occur before 11:30 p.m.
Malloy said there has not been a big impact on the state from rainfall, but that strong winds and storm surges as well as the hybrid nature of the storm will likely have a continuing effect on the state.
“I don’t think anybody should let down their guard,” said Malloy.
Malloy said one problem included waters not receding during low tide, leading to the threat of increased storm surges during high tide. A wind gust of 70 mph was recorded this afternoon at Groton-New London Airport, according to NBC 30.
Connecticut Light & Power’s last report shortly before 4:30 p.m. said 84,302 customers, or six percent, were without power.
Hurricane Sandy is now expected to hit land soon in Southern New Jersey instead of Central New Jersey, which means the wind and rain may be less intense inland in Connecticut. In fact, some forecasters said that some northern and central parts of Connecticut had only a moderate chance of losing power while the rest of Connecticut's risk was rated "severe."
The storm is now just off Atlantic City and has already caused substantial damage to the historic boardwalk there. At 5 p.m., Sandy was moving north-northwest at 28 mph — 10 mph faster than this morning — and had maximum sustained winds measuring 90 mph.