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Nor'easter strikes southeastern Connecticut with heavy rain

Heavy rain pummeled southeastern Connecticut on Tuesday as a nor'easter moved across the coastline, and a high wind advisory remained in effect through Wednesday afternoon.

Thunder had boomed and bright lightning had cracked through the sky overnight Tuesday. The region was under a coastal flood advisory, flash flood watch and wind advisory Tuesday.

The National Weather Service on Tuesday issued a hazardous weather outlook for New London County, as the low-pressure system that rapidly developed south of Long Island dumped rain on the region. The heaviest rain fell Tuesday afternoon.

The coastal flood advisory was in effect from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, with the weather service projecting that the region could see up to a foot of inundation above ground level.

A high wind advisory was in effect from 6 p.m. Tuesday through 2 p.m. Wednesday. Gusts of up to 60 mph were expected, the weather service said.

Gary Lessor, a meteorologist with the Weather Center at Western Connecticut State University, said wind gusts had measured at a high of 38 mph and, as of 7 p.m., about 2.9 inches of rain had been measured at Groton-New London Airport.

Heavy rainfall was expected to continue Tuesday night and winds may intensify, with the region seeing gusts of up to 50 mph, Lessor said.

Those winds and the saturated ground may lead to uprooted trees that could be tossed around by the strong winds, causing scattered power outages.

According to Lessor, the majority of power outages would occur Tuesday and early Wednesday. "It will still be windy in the morning Wednesday but winds will diminish rapidly in the afternoon," he said. "If you don't lose power overnight, you'll probably be fine tomorrow (Wednesday)."

At 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, Eversource was reporting just 1,331 outages statewide: 85 in New London; none in Waterford, East Lyme or Old Lyme. As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, that number dropped to 853 customers statewide, none of them in New London, Waterford, East Lyme or Old Lyme.

A tree branch fell on some wires on Harland Road about 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, causing roughly 300 Norwich Public Utilities customers to lose power, NPU spokesman Chris Riley said. The outage, on Harland, Ox Hill and Scotland roads, lasted for about an hour and a half.

A downed tree halted traffic in East Lyme about 1 p.m. Tuesday on Route 1 near Stone's Ranch Road, according to the East Lyme Police Department. Crews worked to remove the tree and get traffic moving again.

The weather service urged drivers to exercise caution on the roads and urged people to avoid being "outside in forested areas and around trees and branches."

"If possible, remain in the lower levels of your home during the windstorm, and avoid windows," the weather service cautioned.

Rain and wind were expected to taper off Wednesday with high temperatures in the mid-50s. Thursday and Friday will be dryer, but heavy rain will return Saturday, dropping up to another 1 to 2 inches on the region with wind gusts about 40 mph, Lessor said.

t.hartz@theday.com

k.drelich@theday.com

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