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268K Without Power, Merritt Closed as Irene Nears

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — More than 268,000 homes are without power and the Merritt and Cross Parkways are closed to traffic Sunday morning as Hurricane Irene moves closer to Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced from the State Armory in Hartford.

There is a statewide ban on tractor-trailers, Malloy said, urging residents to stay at home and off the roads. The hurricane is expected to hit at about 11 a.m., centered in about Stamford, he said. A storm surge of 4 to 6 feet is expected along with 65 mph wind gusts or stronger, according to the National Weather Service.

One death in Connecticut is storm-related, Malloy said, attributed to a home fire in Prospect.

Power outages from Connecticut Light & Power (223,000 statewide) and United Illuminating (45,000 statewide) increase by the minute. At 7:30 a.m., outages include:

• 7,895 customers in Greenwich;

• 17,340 in Stamford;

• 1,984 in Darien;

• 3,883 in New Canaan;

• 5,884 in Norwalk;

• 2,531 in Westport;

• 6,555 in Fairfield;

• 2,703 in Wilton;

• 1,489 in Weston; and

• 697 in Easton.

The storm will be a daylong event, Malloy said. The biggest concern is loss of life and injury, he said. "People decide they want to go out and experience this thing," Malloy said. "Our fear is what happens ... high tides ... trees and limbs down. ... If you aren't involved in an emergency, don't go out. If you have relative threatening to go out, take their keys."

For state information, visit the website at www.state.gov/irene .

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