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More Than 700,000 Still Without Power In Conn. Following Freak Snowstorm

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Jay Ericson clears snow of branches weighing down on power lines at his home following a snow storm a day earlier in Glastonbury, Conn., Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Jay Ericson clears snow of branches weighing down on power lines at his home following a snow storm a day earlier in Glastonbury, Conn., Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

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WILTON, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – More than 700,000 remained without power Monday night in Connecticut following the weekend’s freak snowfall.

United Illuminating said it expected to have all its customers restored by Monday evening. Though, a check of its website showed over 5,000 outages as of 10:55 p.m.

The Latest Outage Numbers: Connecticut Light & Power | United Illuminating

More than 400 power line and tree crews have been working throughout the state. By the end of the day, some 575 crews were expected to be spread out across the state.

Gov. Dannel Malloy asked for more shelters to be opened up across the state as residents deal with the outages.  Malloy also asked local fire departments to open their doors to the public so people can charge cell phones and laptops and take showers.

CL&P officials said Monday that they’re looking to improve tree-trimming efforts across Connecticut. They said they will review lessons learned from the weekend storm and Irene. Proposals include creating a new statewide tree-trimming plan with government officials and reducing the company’s tree-trimming cycle from five years to four years.

Photo Gallery: October Snowstorm

Amid the power outages and cold temperatures, residents may be taking some big chances to stay warm.

1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports from Ridgefield

“We know people are cold, we are going to work with more communities to have more warming centers,” Malloy said. “Please, please be careful. Absolutely do not bring a gas grill into your house for cooking purposes.”

“Carbon monoxide may in fact be our biggest enemy at the moment,” Malloy said. “Do not bring a gas grill or a kerosene heater into a closed area. You’re going to die. You’re going to kill yourself and potentially your children.”

“We’ve had several incidences last night of carbon monoxide… coming into houses, high levels, alarms going off. Obviously this is because people are tending to ignore the rules about devices. We’re particularly  concerned about kerosene devices and the like. Without proper ventilation these are extremely dangerous,” Malloy said.

WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau talks with United Illuminating

Malloy said the storm was “The biggest weather event that the state has experienced in a very long time, perhaps going all the way back to 1938.”

State officials said the storm also damaged 15 to 20 percent of the 3,100 cell phone tower sites in Connecticut.

“That damage is going to be difficult to overcome in the short run,” Malloy said. The governor toured the state by helicopter on Monday morning, passing over Windsor Locks, the Farmington Valley, the Litchfield Hills and back to Hartford County. He said the areas he saw looked peaceful from 1,500 feet, but those looks were deceiving.

“The amount of snow covering roofs is quite extraordinary,” Malloy said. “You can see signs there’s not a lot of power out there.”

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane with cold residents in Wilton

People huddled in their houses and struggled to stay warm following the storm, especially as they tried to sleep.

“I had sweatpants, I had a Patriots stocking cap on, I had gloves on, a sweatshirt,” resident Al Picozzi told Murnane.

Many residents don’t hold out much hope for a speedy restoration of power. Asked how long they expect to be out, resident Dave Moriarity put it gloomily.

“Longer than we can endure,” he said.

For a list of shelters that have warming stations and charging centers for cell phones, click here.

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