Malloy: The worst is just beginning

Winds were blowing from the northeast at 30 mph, gusting to 50 mph, at 11 a.m. — and picking up. Wind gusts on Long Island Sound went up to 54 mph during the past hour, according to the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

The state has shutdown interstates and parkways, including the Merritt Parkway and Interstate 95, to trucks and passenger vehicles will be banned beginning at 1 p.m.

Local flooding was reported in Milford around noon just as the tide reached its highest point. Many residents along East Broadway had evacuated, but some had decided to ride out the worst of it even though they expressed concerns about the midnight tide.

An alphabetical list of streets for the City of Milford is posted on our website under the Hurricane Sandy Banner. Forecasters are predicting tidal surges during the day slightly greater than last year’s Tropical Storm Irene. The midnight high tide is reported to be at levels we have never experienced before.

“The last time we saw this threat was never,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said during a noon press conference in Hartford.

Some shoreline flooding was not as bad as expected at noon because of winds blowing toward Long Island. That flooding still approached what was seen during Tropical Storm Irene last year. But Malloy warned that by Monday night, the wind should be blowing the opposite direction, which could lead to flooding unlike most have seen in the state, during high tide around midnight.

Malloy said the state is about to hit the most difficult part of the storm this afternoon, which is expected to last for 24 hours.

At 11 a.m., the center of Hurricane Sandy was 260 miles south-southeast of New York City. Hurricane Sandy has maximum sustained winds of 90 mph and is moving to the north-northwest at 18 mph. “Sandy is currently a strong Category I Hurricane,” according to the state.

The National Hurricane Center is forecasting that Sandy will turn to the northwest during the next 3 hours. The storm is forecast to continue to intensify and grow in size as the storm interacts with an approaching winter type storm system. Sandy is forecast to move Northwest to a position near the south coast of New Jersey by 9 p.m. this evening.

“Sandy is transitioning to a very large and extremely dangerous hybrid storm,” according to the state. “Hybrid storms do not act like hurricanes and do not weaken over cold waters.”

High wind warnings remain in effect for very strong winds sustained at 40-60 mph and gusting to 60-85 mph along the coast and in the higher elevations at times. Coastal flood warnings have been issued for the potential for major to record coastal flooding. The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection continue to monitor the latest forecasts and will issue another update on Sandy at 2:30 Monday afternoon.