Three people who took to the water during Irene might be missing, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy urged residents Sunday to take the power of the storm, even in its aftermath, more seriously.
He said one person “who may have paid the ultimate price” was confirmed missing; a canoeist from Bristol. Two other people who may be missing are from East Haven, he said. Those people, he said, were out tubing on a local waterway.
“It’s the kind of behavior we have to encourage our citizens not to be engaged in,” Malloy said. “Please stay off the water.”
He also cautioned that it could take days and even longer for utility companies to restore power to those who have lost it.
“It may be a great amount of time before your power is returned,” Malloy said, adding that he has asked utility companies to keep their customers updated with information regarding outages and restoration efforts.
With more wind expected overnight, more outages could occur, he added.
After touring severely damaged areas in East Haven and West Haven this afternoon, Malloy said he has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to declare Connecticut a disaster area. Meanwhile, he has ramped up the state’s military response to Irene, deploying 1,100 National Guard soldiers today and a total of 1,800 guardsmen tomorrow morning.
With so many traffic lights out, Malloy called on motorists to show common sense and courtesy and stop at intersections where the traffic light isn’t working. “Don’t assume you have the green light, in other words.”
The state’s Insurance Department also has licensed 1,900 new adjusters to help residents whose property was damaged by Irene process insurance claims, he added.
Essential state workers, he said, should report to work at their normal time. Non-essential workers, he added, are being asked to report to work at 10 a.m. He wants the state to get back to work and some level of normalcy because “this has been a terribly disruptive experience across our state.”
Metro North will likely not be able to resume regular service as of tomorrow morning and state officials believe the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York, a major route for Connecticut commuters to New York City, could be closed tomorrow, Malloy said.
“It’s going to make people’s lives, especially in the southwestern portion of our state, all the more difficult.”
While the entire state has suffered as a result of Irene, residential shoreline areas in East Haven were especially hard hit, he said. In East Haven, Malloy said, three houses were destroyed and pulled out to sea and 23 more had major structural damage. During his tour of the community today, Malloy said, he also saw areas, or was told about areas, where large sections of streets and sidewalks were ripped up and he witnessed a “pretty angry Long Island Sound.”