Sandy causes extensive damage; at least 3 dead in CT - CBS 5 - KPHO

Sandy causes extensive damage; at least 3 dead in CT

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

As residents spent Tuesday cleaning up the damage left by Sandy, the governor surveyed the hardest hit areas and announced that federal assistance will be given to the four counties in Connecticut most affected by the storm.

The declaration will allow the counties of Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and New London "to receive important federal assistance that will supplement the state and local recovery efforts," according to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. FEMA will also assess other parts of the state to determine if other counties will receive funding.

"When I spoke with the president earlier today, he made it clear that the federal government was going to do everything in its power to help our residents get back to normal as quickly as possible," he said. "The fact that this declaration happened so quickly is a real testament to that."

The declaration will provide 75 percent federal funding for protective measures and debris removal taken by state and local agencies.

On Tuesday, Malloy visited some of the hardest hit areas such as Newtown, Easton, Greenwich, East Haven and Bridgeport. He will visit towns in Southeastern Connecticut such as Stonington on Wednesday.

Malloy visited Newtown, which lost nearly 100 percent of their power and had problems with drinking water. However, there was no structural damage to any buildings and roads are better than they were during the two previous storms.

At least three people have been killed as a result of Sandy, according to emergency officials. However, Malloy said he believes at least four people died and many more were injured during Sandy.

One of those killed was an Easton firefighter and brother of Connecticut Light and Power employee. Malloy visited the station Tuesday.

"The damage is far more extensive," he said when compared with Hurricane Irene.

Mandatory evacuations were issued for parts of Connecticut. And residents were warned Monday night not to try to swim to safety if their homes were surrounded, but instead climb to the highest level of their homes and hang a white sheet from a window facing the street.

"People right on the water listened better than they ever did. They learned the lessons of Irene," he said. "Folks who were just a little bit further in, who have never seen a rise in water, who didn't listen as well."

Malloy said he was pleased with how the state's utility companies were handling the disaster, but said it's clear they need to work as fast and safely as possible to get people out of the dark.

Utility officials said as of 11 p.m., more than 513,000 customers were in the dark.

CL&P was reporting 376,734 outages and UI was reporting 136,302. Norwich Public Utilities is reporting about 1,000 customers without power.

Power has been restored to more than 210,000 customers, Bill Quinlan of CL&P said. He added tree damage caused by high winds is what lead to a majority of the power outages.

"We think we are making very good progress," Quinlan said.

There are additional 638 tree workers and 1,080 line workers in Connecticut and available to CL&P. Those numbers are expected to increase in the upcoming days.

"We are well under way," said Jim Torgenson of UI.

He added it could take 48 hours to complete assessment of all the damage.

Quinlan said CL&P had not completed its storm damage assessment. It was not clear Tuesday when it would be completed, however it could be completed by Wednesday.

Members of the National Guard spent the night rescuing people from homes and were used in East Haven to help with security Monday night. Steps will be taken again in East Haven and Bridgeport to prevent looting

Sandy was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone after making landfall on the New Jersey shore Monday night. However, the storm's effects were felt hundreds of miles from where the storm actually made landfall.

A post-tropical storm means the hurricane has come ashore and started to dissolve. However, flooding and high winds are still a concern.

At his news conference Tuesday morning, Malloy said he lifted the travel ban he put in to place ahead of Sandy, which, he said prevented crashes.

Non-essential state workers were told to stay home Tuesday and would return to work Wednesday.

Malloy said Monday he was extending the deadline to register to vote until Thursday at 8 p.m.

"If there's no power on Election Day, we will cross that bridge when we get there," Malloy said.

Malloy said he will continue to hold "unified command calls and municipal conference calls" and new briefings are expected to continue with the next one on Wednesday morning.

Malloy declared a state of emergency early in the day Saturday in preparation for Sandy.

The declaration gave Malloy a number of powers, including the ability to modify or suspend any state statute, regulation or requirement. It also gave him the ability to order civil preparedness forces into action and the ability to designate vehicle and person routes and movements.

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