Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will shut down the mass transit system in Connecticut starting Saturday at 8 p.m. and will keep it suspended throughout the hurricane.
During a press briefing in Hartford on Friday afternoon, Malloy said Connecticut Transit buses, Metro North trains and Shoreline East train services will all suspend service at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Malloy said Hurricane Irene represents the kind of storm that the state hasn’t seen since the hurricane of 1938.
“We haven't seen this kind of activity here in a long time, nor have we seen a storm of this size, one carrying so much water and great challenges since 1938 or the 1950s. People need to understand that we are going to feel the affects of this. This has the potential of becoming a serious wind condition and a serious rain condition.”
Malloy, who held his second press briefing of the day at the State Armory in Hartford, reiterated his call for residents in low-lying areas to voluntarily evacuate. He said the state does not believe a mandatory evacuation order is needed.
He also said he was heartened by scenes throughout the day of Connecticut residents taking precautions for Irene, which is expected to hit the state Saturday night.
“I think Connecticut citizens are responding in an appropriate way in their own homes, their own cities and their own towns,” he said. “I want the people of Connecticut to know I appreciate all the work they are doing in preparation for this storm.”
As part of its emergency response planning the Malloy administration is deploying some 700 Connecticut National Guardsman. Of those, 200 have already reported for duty at the Armory and another 500 will report on Monday. Some of those guard units, Malloy said, include urban search and rescue soldiers.
“In effect, we are activating our military."
The Connecticut State Police are also taking special steps to respond to emergencies during the hurricane, according to spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance. The state police have put their emergency operations plan into effect, which includes putting all state troopers on alert and on call during the next few days. In addition, Vance said, the department has strategically located specialized equipment around the state for quick response times to emergencies, including boats, four-wheel drive vehicles, off road vehicles, generators and search and rescue k-9 teams.
Malloy said the storm surge from Hurricane Irene could be between 4-7 feet and residents in shoreline and low-lying areas should get out before the storm hits.
“This should never be a game of chicken,” he said.