HARTFORD, Conn. — A nor'easter brought Connecticut the first snowfall of the season Wednesday along with gusty, potentially damaging winds only nine days after Superstorm Sandy knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers.
The state's biggest power utility, Connecticut Light & Power, said it was sending line workers and tree trimmers back to work, restocking supplies and preparing staging areas for vehicles and heavy equipment. United Illuminating said the efforts it organized in response to last week's storm will remain in place.
Many schools around Connecticut closed early as the storm approached, and utility workers girded themselves for more long days.
Woody Woodruff, a lineman for AT&T, has been working 16-hour days since Sandy hit, replacing utility poles and restringing line.
"You become used to it," he said. "If you went two days only sleeping three hours a day, you'd be totally dead. But after a week of doing it, I can sneak in an hour here and there sleeping in my truck and, bam, I'm refreshed and revived and ready to go again."
Woodruff, 42, said people have been generally nice to his crew, though a lot of them express anger with the utility companies.
"People are offering brownies and stuff," he said. "But they are frustrated with the storm, they say things like, 'Last time I was out 10 days, I can't believe this is happening again.'"
At the height of the Sandy-related outages, more than 625,000 homes and businesses were without power in Connecticut. That number was down to a few hundred by Wednesday morning, but it started creeping up again as Connecticut felt the first effects of the nor'easter.
United Illuminating spokesman Michael West said the timing of the latest storm is the only bright spot, because equipment and staff are already assembled for the Sandy response.
"If it happened next week, we would not have the resources in place," he said.
National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Simpson said the biggest of any impact on Connecticut is likely to be from the wind. A high wind warning is in effect for the shoreline and Simpson said gusts were clocked at 40 mph Wednesday morning in southeastern Connecticut.
In Fairfield, which was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, First Selectman Michael Tetreau urged residents to prepare for flooding in areas that are not typically vulnerable because of the effects of beach erosion.
North winds up to 40 mph and gusts up to 60 mph are forecast for coastal Connecticut, but Simpson said the flooding risk will be mitigated by winds that push seas offshore.
Associated Press writer Pat Eaton-Robb contributed to this report.
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