Even as town officials worked Sunday to respond to the worst storm (in terms of power outages) in the state's history, it became clear that the effort to restore power to thousands of homes was going to take longer than anyone would like.
By Sunday night, more than 786,000 customers statewide remained without power following Saturday's historic October storm that proved to be too much for trees and power lines to handle.
In both Durham and Middlefield, not a single customer had power on Sunday.
Some who lost power -- as many as 100 according to estimates -- spent at least part of their day at the emergency shelter at Coginchaug High School, where residents were able to stay warm, eat or just charge a cell phone.
"We're a lot busier, already, then we were during Irene," Durham emergency management director Francis Willett said about the shelter, which will remain open 24 hours a day until further notice.
Willett and his staff spent much of Sunday directing crews to trouble spots around town -- places where trees had fallen onto power lines or roads, or both -- aiming to open roads so that power crews could start the work to get the electricty back on.
He expected most, if not all, of the preparation work to be done by Monday.
"We've been incredibly self-sufficient and we're getting phenomenal support from Connecticut Light and Power," he said.
During a 5 p.m. briefing Sunday inside Durham's Emergency Operations Center, officials from both towns met with a CL&P representative to get an update on the company's power restoration efforts.
"The difference between this storm and Irene is that we lost a lot of transmission lines in this storm," Lisa Davenport told officials to start.
Davenport, who lives in Durham, explained that a substation located in Middletown that serves the two towns had been damaged during the storm.
"Until power's restored to that substation, no matter what we do in both towns, there's not going to be power," she said, adding that crews had inspected the substation earlier in the day via helicopter.
In a statement Sunday night, Jeff Butler, president and chief operating officer at CL&P said, "We are encouraging customers to be prepared for the worst case, which would be outages lasting more than one week in some of the areas."
Because of the power outages and the continued need for an emergency shelter, Superintendent Susan Viccaro canceled school on Monday.
She said she planned to handle closings on "a case by case basis."
"If we end up getting some schools on, I may run them," Viccaro said.
Middlefield had to scrap plans to open an emergency shelter at Memorial School Sunday afternoon, after a problem was discovered with the school's water system.
Officials hoped to have the problem fixed sometime Monday, but in the meantime residents from both towns are being urged to use the shelter at Coginchaug if needed.
Residents in need of assistance should call the town's storm line at 860-343-6735 or 860-704-9111. For emergencies, call 911.
Public safety was also discussed at the briefing.
Middlefield resident State Trooper Eric Kelly requested that the traffic signals along Route 66 be repaired as soon as possible.
"That is paramount for Middlefield," explained Kelly, who told the group that he'd recently responded to two-head on collisions along the highway.
Road crews have installed stop signs in some areas where traffic signals are no longer working.
Officials from both towns plan to meet for another briefing at 9 a.m. Monday.