At least 25 homes in East Haven were completely destroyed, one person has died, others are missing and more than half the state is without power after Tropical Storm Irene tore through Connecticut.
Irene made landfall on the New Jersey shore and then on western Long Island this morning as a weak category 1 or a strong strong tropical storm (that's up for debate). The storm could've been much worse had it been just 20-40 miles further east of the coast of New Jersey. The increased time near land increased friction and took half the storm away from its source of energy, the water! The Euro was the big winner for this event. That computer model predicted this track from the very beginning. Of course it's easy to see that in hindsight.
Wind speeds were at the low end of our projections. Here are some of the top wind gusts during Irene. I find it impressive how the combination of gusty winds and a soaking wet ground uprooted so many trees and power lines! I had several trees laying in my parking lot when I woke up this morning. I'm one of the few cars that lucked out without a scratch.
During Hurricane Gloria 477,428 CL&P customers were without power. Irene left HALF of CL&P customers in the dark. As I'm writing this, 652,097 without electric! A historic storm response! Here is the link for the current CL&P outage map.
Rainfall amounts were higher in western Connecticut (as we expected, closer to the storm track).
The soil in Litchfield and Fairfield counties was already at saturation and the rainfall totals overwhelmed rivers and streams, some to historic levels (As noted below). While all of the rivers below have crested and are falling now, the Connecticut River is much larger and will continue to rise through Wednesday. Here is a link to river level forecasts.
Here is just one of many videos of river flooding across the state. Naugatuck River Webster Bank on Rubber Avenue
The average return time for a hurricane in Connecticut is 16 years. I hope that's true.