WEST PORT, CT (CBSNewYork/AP) — Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy wants drivers to stay off the roads.
Officials are considering a traffic ban on state highways as Hurricane Irene barrels toward New England.
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau reports
The brunt of Irene is expected to hit Connecticut on Sunday morning as a Category 1 hurricane, which can have sustained winds in excess of 70 mph.
President Barack Obama has declared an emergency for Connecticut and ordered federal aid to help state and local response efforts.
Malloy also said Saturday that hundreds of National Guard troops will be deployed across Connecticut, beginning when the storm starts moving out Sunday.
“We can always hope that the things that we fear don’t happen but we have to prepare for the things that we fear,” said Malloy.
He warned authorities may not be able to help people in the middle of the storm and again urged people living along the shore and in flood-prone areas near rivers and streams to leave as soon as possible.
“I don’t want people to think that this thing weakening to such an extent that it does not pose some of the greatest challenges potentially since 1938 or the three storms in the 1950s.”
Malloy says because of the number of trees and saturated ground along the Merritt and Willbur Cross parkways, he may have to shut these roadways down.
A spokesman for the Millstone nuclear power plant complex in Connecticut says workers will shut down the two operating reactors there if winds from Hurricane Irene exceed 90 mph.
Spokesman Ken Holt says officials at the power complex in Waterford along Long Island Sound were monitoring the storm Saturday. He says if winds reach or are expected to reach above 90 mph, then workers will begin a shutdown process that takes several hours.
Holt says Millstone has strong flood barriers and water-tight doors. He says Millstone was built to withstand hurricanes and earthquakes.
Meanwhile, boaters all week have been prepping for this storm.
This storm has all the ingredients to deliver a boater’s worst nightmare. Edon Smith is busy safeguarding his 36 foot craft at the Saugatuck Yacht Club in Westport.
But the most damage could come from something over which he has no control, like a tide surge that raises the docking above the tips of pilings.
“As the tide goes back down, the pilings won’t be there and the docks could just accordion together crushing boats,” said Smith.
Also at risk are boats out in the harbor. They could be torn from their moorings and in hurricane winds, wind up on the shore broken and beached.
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)