People driven out of their homes by power outages huddled together in warming centers Monday and commuters struggled to find open gas stations while navigating the mess of downed power lines and tree branches left by a rare October snow storm.
More than 750,000 customers in the state were without power from the storm, which set Connecticut records for outages and snowfall so early in the season. The storm has been blamed for two deaths in the state and at least 12 across the Northeast.
In Hartford, commuters hunted for gas stations that were not closed because of the outages. At a 7-Eleven, two dozen cars waited early Monday in a line that stretched into the street and disrupted traffic.
"I'm sitting here thinking I'm going to run out of gas," said Mitchell Celella, 45, of Canaan, Conn., who was trying to make it to his job as an ice cream maker in West Hartford.
Debra Palmisano said everything was closed in her hometown of Plainville and she spent most of the morning looking for gas.=
"There's no gas anywhere. It's like we're in a war zone. It's pretty scary, actually," she said.
When Irene hit in August the weather was warm and it did not get too cold. Now you have much colder weather and if you are without power for a week it could get very ugly.
Connecticut Light and Power reported Monday that about 750,000 customers were without power, down from more than 830,000. The utility says it has more than 300 crews working to restore power and plans to add 450 crews from out of state. But Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said tree damage was five times worse than the state experienced when the remnants of Hurricane Irene hit in August, and it could take a week or longer to restore all power.