FAIRFIELD - (AP) - Local officials are urging Connecticutresidents to leave their shoreline homes and other areas prone toflooding before Hurricane Irene hits the state.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued Saturday in Bridgeport,New Haven, Fairfield, Milford and Stonington, affecting thousandsof residents. New Haven Mayor John DeStefano says there's amandatory evacuation of the Morris Cove area near Tweed-New HavenAirport because of expected flooding.

Other cities and towns issued pleas for voluntary evacuations,including Guilford, Norwalk, Stratford and Shelton.

State officials say the brunt of Irene is expected to hit thesouthwestern Connecticut shoreline late Sunday morning, bringingsustained winds of 80 mph or more. Tropical storm-force winds aredue in Connecticut late Saturday night.

Shelters have been set up throughout the state.

News 12 Weather Center