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I'm an Emmy Award Winning meteorologist at Fox 61 in Hartford. For the latest forecast updates (and fun stuff too, like food and family pics), please follow me on Facebook, twitter and instagram. I look forward to interacting with you there!

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Weather Cut-In

 

River Flooding Connecticut

Here is your one stop shop for flooding information and rainfall totals. It has been a crazy day. At FOX we did cut-ins every half an hour from the midday news until 5 P.M. The Yantic River at Yantic could crest at record levels! Also...I want to watch the Connecticut River at Middletown very closely.

Latest Flood Information for the Connecticut River

Latest Flood Information for the Farmington River

Latest Flood Information for the Housatonic River

Latest Flood Information for the Yantic River

Rainfall Totals

More Rainfall Totals Scroll down if they're not at the top.

Heavy Rain, Flooding, Evacuations

A slow-moving Nor'easter will continue to impact the state through Today. This storm is tapping the tropics, resulting in an abundance of moisture and locally heavy rainfall.

Most areas have already received over 2-3 inches of rain by Tuesday morning , and some portions of the state picked up nearly 4-5 inches.

A statewide average of 3 to 6 inches of rain is expected through Tuesday, with locally higher amounts possible. Some areas in the eastern portion of Connecticut could receive up to 8 inches of rain.

Several school districts in Southeastern Connecticut were closed Tuesday, including Bozrah, Norwich, Preston, Stonington, and Voluntown.

• Visit CTNow.com for a full list of school closings.

Stonington Police are evacuating the "Birdland" portion of town off Route 1 due to a high water level at a dam upstream. Tactical Operations Director George Brennan said about 100 to 150 people are being evacuated.

A shelter has opened at Stonington High School, at 176 South Broad Street.

Police have also closed Flanders Road, Mistuxet Ave, River Road, Collins Road, and Route 1 near Masons Island.

The Aquarian Water Company is draining off some excess water in the Dam in Mystic, which police said may cause water levels near Cove Road. Residents in that area have not been evacuated, but are being advised of the potentially higher levels of water "just in case" they choose to leave, Brennan said.

Flooding has also closed roads in several other towns, including Colchester, Montville, Ledyard and North Stonington, state police said this morning.

The state Department of Transportation reports flooding on I-95 South in East Lyme by exits 75 and in Waterford between exits 80 and 81. Drivers are advised not to attempt driving across a flooded roadway.

Route 17A in Portland closed last week and remains closed.

George K. Pytlik, emergency management director for the town of Westbrook, said flooded basements are being called in by the minute. The fire department is currently pumping about half a dozen flooded basements.

"A lot of us old guys are looking back and saying it looks like the flood of '82," he said. "We're holding up the fort. We're gearing up for the flood of '82."

His department is on its way to Mels Road where serious flooding was reported. Several roads in town are closed and Pytlik said he expects beach road to be completely underwater by high tide.

A flood warning is up across Connecticut as rain continues to pour onto saturated ground, causing rivers and streams to over run their banks. The Connecticut River is expected to reach flood levels by late Tuesday, but will not crest until later in the week, according to the National Weather Service.

The American Red Cross has reached out and is making itself available to several communities that are at risk for flooding, said spokesman Paul Shipman.

Storm shelters with cots, blankets and food were prepared in Norwich and Stamford Monday. Only the Norwich shelter was opened, although no one stayed overnight, Shipman said. The shelter is located in a senior center at 8 Mahan Drive. There was no call to open the Stamford shelter.

The Red Cross will continue monitoring the storm by communicating with the state's Emergency Operations Center. Volunteers are on standby for the next few days to help set up and manage shelters, prepare and distribute food, provide emotional support and counseling, and other services, Shipman said.

Most small rivers and streams in the state have reached flood stage or are close to it. Serious flooding problems are predicted along the Yantic River in southeast Connecticut.

The Connecticut River won't crest until sometime late this week, well after the rainfall has stopped falling. Residents in areas prone to flooding are being advised to be ready to react quickly to rising water.

Showers will continue through Wednesday, but then conditions are expected to improve. Thursday through the weekend should bring clear skies and temperatures in the 70s.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Top Ten For Katie Stevens of Middlebury

 
IT WAS A MAD HOUSE! THE KATIE KRAZE CONTINUES!

Connecticut River Flooding, Housatonic River Flooding

Connecticut River Flooding- Instead of writing out current river conditions that change a minute after I post a blog entry, just visit this link. It has all the latest flood information. The blue line shows previous and current river levels, the green line is the forecast river height. Usually there is a green number which displaying the forecast crest (the forecast peak height of the river). The Flood Impacts section lists the effects river flooding according to river height.

Houstatonic River Flooding-Same info as above, but for the Housatonic River

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Midadventures With Bleach

Sometimes my cat Rambo misses the litter box. But at least when “number one” gets on the floor next to the litter, I know he at least tried to hit the intended target.

It’s a never-ending battle to keep the stench away. I don’t want people to immediately know I have cats when they open the door to my apartment! Usually the pet-odor removers do the trick, but they cost an arm and a leg. So yesterday I thought I was smart by purchasing regular household bleach.

I uncapped the bleach and started liberally pouring it all over the wood floors (my rental company is cringing right now). The bleach starts to bubble. Ahhh yes, it must be working! But my feeling of accomplishment was soon squashed. As I began to wipe up the excess bleach, my hand started to get very warm. Immediately I knew from science class---there must be a chemical reaction occurring that’s releasing energy. That would explain then bubbling. Then, WHAM! Before I had a chance to finish my thought, I took the most unpleasant breath of my life. My throat was on fire, as I began choking on fumes. I began to lose my balance as I stumbled backwards and shut the door to the litter area. As I struggled to take a clean breath I realized what had happened.

You never mix ammonia with bleach.

I always knew the simple cleaning commandment. But foolishly, I never realized there was enough ammonia in cat urine to produce the same reaction. I called poison control thinking I might have permanent lung damage (I can be a hypochondriac).

Me: Am I going to die?
Poison Control: Well since you are on the phone talking to us right now, chances are, you’re going to survive.

Poison Control said people commonly tell a similar story. The reaction of ammonia and bleach produced noxious chlorine gas. The gas is so powerful it was used as a chemical warfare agent in World War I. How cruel! Can’t they just stick to guns and bombs? But I digress…Anyway, Poison Control told me to open all the windows in the house and breathe some fresh air. I locked up the cats away from the litter box, in a room with all the windows open. We survived. In fact, the litter box room smells great and I’m alive to tell the tale.

I even used the incident as an excuse to skip the gym that evening. Everyone wins.

WPIX in NYC Gets A Special Visitor....

SNOOKS! LOL would love to have her here at FOX CT! I'll teach her a thing or two.
 

FLOOD WARNING CT RIVER

This was issued after my original blog post. A FLOOD WARNING was just issued for the Connecticut River at Middletown. At 9:00 am Tuesday the stage was 8.1 feet. Flood stage is 8.0 feet. Minor flooding is occurring and moderate flooding is forecast. Forecast, the river will continue rising to near 13.3 feet by early Thursday afternoon. Additional rises may be possible thereafter.

IMPACT, at 13.0 feet, flooding will likely result in the evacuation of low lying areas along river road in Cromwell and meadow road in Portland. Flooding will occur in the harbor park area. Flooding increases in surrounding towns along the river, from Middletown and Portland to the river mouth at Old Saybrook.

Read below for more river flooding info in depth. Or you can visit the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services website.

Flood Warnings (As Promised)

I mentioned there would be some flood warnings today and they just keep on rolling in. A Flood Warning means flooding is imminent or occurring already. River levels were already high from our last storm. So it isn't taking much to push some of these rivers over the edge. This will not affect 90% of people in Connecticut. But if you do happen to live near one of these rivers then YOU KNOW this info is of the utmost importance.

A FLOOD WARNING continues in Brookfield for the Still River until Wednesday Morning. The river is currently (as of 8 am), two feet above flood stage. The river is expected to crest two and a half feet above flood stage.

A FLOOD WARNING is in effect for the Housatonic River at Stevenson Dam. Flood stage is 11' and the river is expected to crest at 12.3 feet around 2 A.M. Wednesday.The river is forecast to fall below flood stage Wednesday after 4 P.M. At 11.5', water begins to reach the Maple Hills area of Shelton.


A FLOOD WARNING is in effect for the Housatonic River at Gaylordsville from this afternoon until further notice. Flood Stage is 8 feet and the river is expected to continue to rise until to near 9.4 feet by 8 P.M Wednesday. At 9.5 feet, the water reaches businesses on the low side of Spring Street.

A FLOOD WATCH means there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts. There is a Flood Watch in effect for Litchfield County. The combination of a nearly saturated ground, streams at already elevated levels, and moderate to heavy rainfall could result in flooding. The watch is not just "watching" rivers but also poor drainage areas and low lying areas.

There are no warnings out for the Connecticut River at Hartford but I'm concerned about some minor flooding because right now the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service is expected to crest well above flood stage. Take a look:

Effects:
Flood Stage is 16 ft and the forecast by Thursday morning puts the river at 21.6 ft. Here is a chart detailing the effects of river flooding according to river height.

14.0':
Recreational boaters may need to secure their boats as the river elevation exceeds some docks. Swift river flows will also cause increasingly difficult sailing conditions.

16.0':
Minor flooding is expected in several low lying areas outside levee protection in Hartford...as well as downstream through Wethersfield and Glastonbury.

16.0':
Recreational boaters should secure their boats at this time. Some docks will be inaccessible due to the river elevation...and swift river flows will make sailing conditions difficult.

17.0':
Lowland flooding is expected along the Connecticut River from Hartford through Wethersfield and Glastonbury...primarily outside of levee protection. This will affect several riverside roadways as well as several park and recreational facilities.

18.0':
Flooding of low lying areas below Hartford is expected...especially in areas that are outside of levee protection. Flooding also affects low lying areas upstream of Hartford...including a portion of Windsor where the Farmington River empties into the Connecticut River. In addition...swift river flows may disrupt some cross river ferry services.

20.0':
Flooding is expected along the river in portions of Wethersfield...Glastonbury... Rocky hill and Cromwell. The high waters and swift flows will disrupt some cross river ferry services. Upstream of Hartford...flooding will continue to affect portions of Windsor. Immediate river roads may become impassable in all of these communities.

23.0':
Flooding affects some residential areas below Hartford through rocky hill...including some roadways. Upstream of Hartford... Flooding is likely to affect Windsor locks...east Windsor and Windsor. Should localized evacuations be necessary...act quickly. Know alternate routes for travel in your location should roads along the river become flooded and impassable.

The Connecticut River at Middletown is also expected to experience some moderate flooding. Flood stage is 8 feet and the forecast crest is at 11.8 feet by Thursday morning.


8.0':
Flooding is likely in the vicinity of meadow road/rt 17a in the gildersleeve section of Portland. A portion of this roadway will likely be closed. This includes the exchange club of Portland fairgrounds. Boating interests should prepare for a period of swift river flows during this period.

9.0':
Flooding is expected in low lying sections of the Connecticut River from Wethersfield and Glastonbury downstream through Cromwell...Middletown and Portland. Boating interests should prepare for a period of swift river flows.

11.0':
Flooding closes most of meadow road/rt 17a in the Gildersleeve section of Portland. Flooding impacts the Middletown marina and meadow farms. In Cromwell...portions of river road will be closed. In rocky hill...parts of meadow road will be impassable for a time. Flooding continues along the river southward through Essex.

12.0':
Flooding continues to overspread sections of Portland and Middletown...as well as downstream towns including Chester and Essex. Some immediate river roads will be impassable. In Cromwell this usually impacts portions of river road. In rocky hill... Portions of meadow road will become impassable.

The Housatnic river at Falls Village is expected to crest at 7.8 feet Wedensday night. Flood stage is 6.0 feet.

Effects:
7.0'
The Housatonic river begins to flood the park above falls village dam...and water begins to flow into the fields of white hollow farms near Limerock Road...and is at the edge of the Housatonic valley regional high school fields.

8.0'
The water reaches riverside road at kent school and floods the picnic area along route 7 near Housatonic meadows.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Some Minor Flooding Possible

This is data and forecasts from The Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services. I don't forecast river levels but I'll pass it on to you anyway. Because somehow, I doubt that you are regularly checking river level information. 1"-2" of rain could fall tonight into Tuesday. Normally that amount of rain is not a big deal, but river levels are already very high from our last nor'easter. So there could be some minor flooding with this next storm for rivers and streams. Here are some of the river forecasts.

The Connecticut River at Middletown is expected to crest AT flood stage.

What does that mean?
Flooding is likely in the vicinity of meadow road/RT 17A in the Gildersleeve section of Portland. A portion of this roadway will likely be closed. This includes the exchange club of Portland fairgrounds. Boating interests should prepare for a period of swift river flows during this period.

The Connecticut River at Hartford is expected to crest above flood stage.

What does that mean?
Recreational boaters should secure their boats at this time. Some docks will be inaccessible due to the river elevation...and swift river flows will make sailing conditions difficult. Minor flooding is expected in several low lying areas outside levee protection in Hartford...as well as downstream through Wethersfield and Glastonbury.

If the river reaches 17 Feet...
Lowland flooding is expected along the Connecticut River from Hartford through Wethersfield and Glastonbury...primarily outside of levee protection. This will affect several riverside roadways as well as several park and recreational facilities.


The Housatonic River at Stevenson Dam is expected to crest above flood stage.

What does this mean?
Water begins to affect low lying areas in the Riverside neighborhood of Oxford.

Remember, this data is current as of noon Monday afternooon. For the latest River data go to the AHPS website!

Rebecca Stewart is Leaving FOX CT

I’m very sad to tell you that Rebecca Stewart, weekend anchor extraordinaire, will be leaving FOX CT for a new job. Rebecca has taken a job with Hartford Hospital as Director of Media Relations. Her last day is March 29th which means she’s only with us for one more round of weekend shows.

:( <---My sad face.

Rebecca has been thinking about a career change for a while. A career in television can be very hectic and sometimes unstable. Rebecca previously anchored the FOX61 Morning News, before being switched to weekends. The sudden change required a shift in her lifestyle and Rebecca was asked to leave a show that she helped shape from the beginning.

But no matter what show, Rebecca always puts on an amazing newscast. She has always blown me away in her ability to adlib. Sometimes a sentence in the teleprompter isn’t written correctly, but Rebecca has the ability to think on her feet better than any anchor I have ever worked with. She is even better in breaking news situations when new information is literally being fed to her through an earpiece seconds before she feeds that info back to viewers.

Rebecca’s new position will include “helping with development of the hospital's ‘news service,’ providing medical news feeds for the media. Her other duties will include fielding day-to-day media requests and arranging medical resources for live stories.” I took this description from the Courant’s article about her departure.

I will miss Rebecca, but I know how THRILLED she is to start this new career. She’s also excited about having weekends back to spend with her family. Rebecca is married to WTNH reporter Jaime Muro and they have an adorable little boy. So for now I will try to put aside my selfishness (hehe) and wish her CONGRATS! I’m so happy for you Rebecca!

No word yet on who will be taking the next weekend anchor position.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

More Storm Pictures

This story aired Wednesday...better late than never. The damage is so unbelievable! I thought I would share some pics as well. CL&P says it finally restored 160,000 outtages, including homes who lost power twice!  

A tree in Stamford plucked a gravestone out of the ground.



Over 160,000 outtages caused by downed trees and powerlines.

Trees formed natural road blocks on many streets.

Flipped boats at a Marina in Fairfield

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Governor Rell Asks DPUC, DEMHS to Probe Utility Response to Storm

Article Sent to me from the Governor's office. Thought you may find it interesting:

Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced she has asked the Department of Public Utility Control and the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to examine the actions of the state’s two largest electric utilities – Connecticut Light & Power Co. (CL&P) and United Illuminating Co. (UI) – in the initial hours of the weekend storm that contributed to the deaths of at least three people, downed thousands of trees and tree limbs, snapped hundreds of utility poles and left nearly 100,000 Connecticut homes and businesses without power.

As of this morning, more than 39,000 CL&P customers and more than 700 UI customers were still without power.

Governor Rell said she heard from many municipal leaders, fire and police chiefs and emergency management officials who complained that the utility companies were slow to respond to the storm Saturday night and Sunday. The officials told the Governor they had trouble reaching utility officials – often getting voice mail or no answer at all – and said that they saw relatively few utility crews on the job in the first two days of the storm.

“This was a huge storm that did serious damage – miles of wire and dozens of utility poles were affected,” Governor Rell said. “Thousands of Connecticut residents remain without power even now – three days after the storm, with nighttime lows still dipping into the 30s. And it is flatly unacceptable for a fire or police official to be unable to reach a ‘real person’ at a utility company in the middle of an emergency. We need to know what went wrong, why it happened and how to keep it from happening again.

“I have asked DEMHS and the DPUC to look at the initial communication problems and to pull individual work crew records for Saturday and Sunday,” the Governor said. “I want to know whether all the necessary resources were out there as quickly and for as long as they should have been. Too many people are still without power and too many questions are unanswered.”

Monday, March 15, 2010

FOX CT Storm Coverage

Starting with John Charlton's coverage in Westport. Then details on Governor Rell issuing a State of Emergency. My package featuring Stamford and Fairfield starts at 3:30 on the video. Longest standup of my life. I had a lot to say!
 

Governor Declares State of Emergency for Fairfield County

The Governor's office sent me this statement today. I saw the damage firsthand. Fairfield County looks like it was hit by a hurricane.


"Governor M. Jodi Rell today toured damage in Fairfield County caused by a severe storm that brought heavy rain and high winds to Connecticut over the weekend, downing trees, blocking roads and cutting power to tens of thousands of households – nearly 59,000 of which were still without power at midday. At least three deaths in Connecticut are also associated with the storm.

Governor Rell met in Greenwich with First Selectman Peter Tesei and in Stamford with Mayor Michael Pavia. After reviewing the damage and discussing the situation with local leaders, the Governor announced she will declare a state of emergency.

“Saturday’s storm was among the most destructive to ever hit Fairfield County and the damage is simply astounding,” Governor Rell said. “Power lines are down, countless homes and businesses are damaged and thousands of trees – some as large as 5 feet in diameter – were simply bowled over.

“The winds have knocked over signs and blown down power poles and – of course – falling tree limbs have taken down additional utility lines,” the Governor said. “State and municipal crews are working as fast as they can to clear the roads and utility crews are out in force to get power restored. But this is a monumental job and it will take some time.”

At Governor Rell’s direction, the state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) is working with Connecticut cities and towns to tally damage to public property and to homes and businesses, as well as expenses incurred in responding to the storm, to determine whether the state could qualify for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Governor Rell said federal disaster assistance will be sought if minimum damage requirements are met. For Fairfield County, for example, a minimum of $2.85 million in damage must be recorded for that county to qualify for federal disaster assistance. For state government’s expenditures to qualify for federal reimbursement, the state would need to incur $4.39 million in costs.

DEMHS Commissioner Peter Boynton also held a conference call today with chief elected officials and first responders to determine whether communities needed any additional help from the state.

Officials from Connecticut Light & Power Co. and United Illuminating Co., the state’s two largest electric utilities, also participated in the DEMHS conference call. The utilities have crews working to restore power across the state and additional help has been called in from other states and utility companies.

The Governor has also called on officials from municipalities whose towns were not affected by the storm to loan equipment (e.g., wood chippers, bucket trucks, front-end loaders) and personnel to those communities that were hardest-hit. Calling it “a modern-day barn raising,” the Governor told the town leaders that while federal or state reimbursement for the loans is not available, “they could one day find their generosity reciprocated when their own town is in need.”

At Governor Rell’s request, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities has agreed to serve as a clearinghouse for communities willing to share resources.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Transportation is working to reopen more than two dozen Fairfield County locations where roads have been closed due to flooding, downed trees or the presence of live wires."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekend Storm Recap

Rainfall Totals for Fairfield, Middlesex, New London and New Haven Counties
If you scroll down, you can see peak wind gusts!

Rainfall totals for Hartford, Tolland and Windham Counties

In a nutshell:
This weekend a nor'easter dumped 2"- 5" of rain across the state with wind gusts up to 65 mph and numerous downed trees and power lines. The same storm has stalled on the mid-Atlantic coast and will continue to provide occasional rain and drizzle Monday. Winds will blow out of the north at 15-25 mph with gusts near 40 mph. Monday night some snow could mix with rain in the higher elevations. There could be a coating of snow and slush in the hill towns. The rest of the week looks sunnier and mild.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Energy Audits Benefit Customers and Hamden!

Everytime a United Illuminating customer in Hamden signs up for a $75 energy audit, Hamden gets a $25 grant towards other energy efficiency projects. I just think the blower door thingy is cool....
 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

And The Award Goes To....

I love the Oscars! Here's my acceptance speech for BEST METEOROLOGIST IN CONNECTICUT. First I would like to thank my Mother....NATURE! HAHA!

Yeah, I know I'm pale. Whatever.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Connecticut Valley Hospital Needs Funding

The state's public hospital for people with mental illness is asking for funding. Employees say they are working mandated double shifts which is dangerous for both employees and patients.
 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

NASA: Quake Shifted Earth's Axis, Shortened Day

Basically, the 8.8 magnitude quake in Chile changed the dimensions of the earth's tectonic plates, which in turn changed the "mass balance" of the earth.

You know more about "mass balance" than you think! Have you ever seen a figure skater pull their arms close to their body while spinning? He/she will spin faster! The same is true for the earth! A shift in mass will alter the earth's rotation speed.

NASA scientists say the length of a day is shortened by 1.26 microseconds (millionths of a second) because the earth is rotating slightly faster. Obviously, this is not going to change your life in any way. But it's interesting to think an earthquake thousands of miles away can have an impact on the entire planet. We are all connected. Maybe Avatar was onto something. NOTE TO SELF: Stop making Avatar references ASAP.

Here's the original article: NASA: Quake Shifted Earth's Axis, Shortened Day

After 65 Years, Camera Store In New Haven May Be Forced to Close

COOLEST STANDUP EVER! Props to my photographer Scott Vargas for thinking outside the "picture frame". Bad joke...sorry.