FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — The worst of Hurricane Sandy will lash the state from 3 p.m. Monday to 3 a.m. Tuesday, with the gravest concerns for communities along the Fairfield County coastline, Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a news conference broadcast Monday morning.
"I'm most concerned about the loss of life along the water," Malloy said. "Power outages are likely to occur throughout the state if we hit the wind numbers."
The National Weather Service is warning of gusts of 80 mph along the coast and 75 mph inland in Fairfield County through 6 p.m. Tuesday. Sustained winds could hit 50 mph along the coast and 40 mph inland.
The Weather Service is also warning of flooding and heavy rain throughout the region.
Evacuations have been ordered in coastal communities from Greenwich to Bridgeport. The storm surge at high tide at noon Monday will be higher than Irene, and the surge Monday at midnight will be worse, Malloy said.
Connecticut Light & Power was taking the drastic measure Monday morning of building an emergency concrete berm at its power station near the water in Stamford to prevent flood damage. The station powers south Stamford and much of downtown.
Any power outages caused by the wind will last a "long period of time," Malloy said.
Malloy also banned trucks on state highways. He said Bradley Airport in Hartford will close at 1 p.m. About 850 National Guard troops are in place to help the state deal with the storm.
Malloy called the storm "the most catastrophic event" residents will have faced in their lifetimes.
"It's dangerous out there and will only get more dangerous over the coming hours," he said. "Stay home."