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Category 1 Hurricane Irene Expected to Cover Majority of Connecticut

Flooding of small rivers and streams is a "large concern" the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection said.

As Hurricane Irene makes her way up the East Coast, Connecticut officials are meeting with their peers on the federal level to prepare for the likelihood of flooding, possible evacuations and power outages.

Irene expected to hit Stamford Sunday evening, with tropical storm winds to blow in early Sunday and rain arriving Saturday.

As of 11 a.m., Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Peter Boynton said that Irene could be a Category 1 storm when it hits the state.

As expected, Connecticut's most vulnerable areas are along the coastline. Given the expected time of landfall, the storm will likely coincide with high tide.

"This is a very large storm," Boynton said. "It is expected to cover about three-fourths of the state and a good portion of Southern New England."

Given the storm's size and hurricanes' tendency to move more slowly in the Northeast, the biggest threat to residents in North Central Connecticut will be the high winds, which could be between 75 and 95 miles per hour, and flooding.

"The major rivers are fairly low right now," but the risk of flooding remains for low-lying areas and residents near smaller inland rivers and streams, Boynton said.

The forecast is expected to change, the deputy commissioner said, during a conference call with reporters, but the potential for flooding remains a possibility due to the anticipated accumulation of 6 to 10 inches of rain across the state. An excess of 12 inches could be possible in some areas if the storm spends an extended amount of time over the state, he added.

Boynton urged residents to pay close attention to local media outlets as evacuations will occur, if at all, in isolated areas — particularly those areas that are low-lying and by smaller inland rivers and streams.

Those residents are encouraged to identify their local shelters and the emergency routes to those shelters.

Residents were also encouraged by Boynton to complete preparation for the hurricane ahead of time, and understand that first responding units will likely be unavailable during the storm's peak, as they will be taking shelter as well.

Boynton echoed Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's statements this morning, suggesting that residents get a kit (including batteries and a flashlight), stock up on supplies (including at least three days of water) and make an evacuation plan.

Residents should contact their towns or call 211 for more information, and in the event of emergencies, residents should call 911, Boynton said.

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