Update Friday 9:33 a.m. — Though most of Fairfield Country braced for severe weather and likely power outages late Thursday afternoon, the resulting damage was minimal.
Skies grew dark Thursday late afternoon, with heavy winds and rain pummeling the area. By 8 p.m., First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said the heaviest storms had likely passed but there was still rain expected, and 32 customers were without power in Darien according to Connecticut Light & Power.
Trees were reported down on Middlesex Road, Nearwater Lane, and Hoyt Street, including some branches in wires. By 10 p.m., Stevenson reported that almost all residents had power restored.
“We came through the storms much better than expected. No major issues and only 5 customers are without power, ” she said.
As of Friday morning CL&P is reporting all customers have had power restored.
Thursday — It might be a beautiful afternoon in Darien but that could change suddenly this evening, according to forecasts and warnings being sent out all over the region.
The National Weather Service has issued a special weather statement for Darien and the area this evening, and both the state and Connecticut Light & Power are preparing for potentially severe weather.
The weather service said a long line of severe thunderstorms is making its way toward Connecticut from New York and Pennsylvania Thursday afternoon and could be here by 7 p.m.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will partially activate the state’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 3:30 this afternoon to monitor and manage any issues that may arise.
“This will allow us to better coordinate with municipalities and state agencies, and respond quickly should we have power outages or other damage from these potential storms,” Malloy said. “I encourage Connecticut residents to closely monitor weather conditions throughout the day and evening, and take proper precautions to stay safe.”
CL&P says it is preparing for “powerful winds and heavy downpours … All CL&P employees stand ready to assist in the restoration effort and the company has already begun reaching out to other utilities, including our sister companies in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, for additional utility crews.”
In addition, the utility said, “Our town liaisons will be in direct communication with each community we serve throughout the storm to keep them updated on restoration efforts. We will also be coordinating closely with state and municipal officials to keep them informed.”
The hazardous weather conditions come just as the state is preparing for a disaster preparedness exercise July 30-31. Wilton will test its communications capabilities at that time.
A line of severe thunderstorms was moving through central New York and Central Pennsylvania at 3:15 Thursday afternoon. That storm is on track to reach Connecticut and Long Island between 7 and 8 p.m., according to the weather service, with additional thunderstorms lingering in the area.
“Severe thunderstorms are capable of damaging winds over 58 mph and hail over one inch in diameter,” a special weather statement from the service said. “Frequent and dangerous lightning strikes are expected with these storms. Torrential rain with rates between one and two inches per hour is likely, possibly producing flash flooding over the area. Isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out.
Tonight is supposed to be mostly cloudy, with a low around 72 and a southwest wind 7 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a half- and three-quarters of an inch possible.
The chance of showers and thunderstorms continues on Friday, mainly after 11 a.m. It will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 91 and a west wind 3 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Things will be drier Friday night with only a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. It will be mostly cloudy, with a low around 70. Chance of precipitation is 20%.