NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Roads and sidewalks were covered in snow, and cars and trucks were spinning out on highways and surface streets as a powerful winter storm socked the state of Connecticut Thursday.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy closed state offices Thursday and ordered non-essential state workers to stay home, as near-blizzard conditions were expected in Connecticut over the next couple of hours.
Malloy also declared a State of Emergency so the state can request help from federal government to help some cities in Connecticut that are experiencing road salt shortages for the remainder of this winter season
In New Haven, Mayor Toni Harp declared a state of emergency and requested help from the National Guard to clear city streets.
Gov. Dannel Malloy was at the state’s emergency operations center early in the morning to get an update on the storm’s track and the state’s respondse. Malloy closed all state offices and told first- and second-shift non-essential state workers to stay home.
“ I don’t like the term non-essential because I think everyone does important work, but with poor road conditions I don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way,” Malloy said in a statement.
During at 8:30 a.m. news briefing, the governor said 300 Connecticut National Guard troops are on standby. He expects conditions to deteriorate over the next couple of hours.
State courts and judicial offices will open at 10 AM on Friday.
The first flakes of what will be a snowy, wet winter storm have been falling since the early morning hours. At one point the snow was falling fast and heavy, at a rate of more than an inch an hour, and the National Weather Service warned of near-blizzard conditions.
From WXedge.com: “The heaviest snow is lifting north, and at the same time warmer air is working into Connecticut. Much of the state was reporting sleet at 1:30 p.m. with some freezing rain near the I-95 corridor. ”
A Winter Storm Warning is in effect across Connecticut and up and down the East Coast.
Many schools will have a delay or remain closed on Friday.
LINK: School Delays/Closings
Connecticut state police warned drivers to take it easy if they go out on the roads. “Roads are slippery. accidents spin outs increasing. Slow speeds a MUST!! Stay off roads if possible,” state police said via Twitter.
Many cities and towns have instituted parking bans. In Hartford, police have issued 577 tickets and towed 265 cars that did not adhere to the ban. In Naugatuck, police issued 55 tickets for violating the parking ban.
Connecticut Department of Transportation plow trucks have been out on the major highways scraping and treating the roads for anyone who ventures out during the day. A ban on tandem tractor-trailers began at 4:00 a.m.
Metro-North announced it will run hourly trains beginning at 4 o’clock. The railroad reduced the number of trains to 75-percent of its usual service Thursday morning, but they said they actually had only one-third of the usual ridership. On Friday, Metro-North will operate on a Saturday schedule due to the impact of the winter storm and lower ridership.
Amtrak says passengers should expect delays. Acela Express and Northeast Regional service will run on reduced/modified schedules.
Bradley International Airport reports 82 flights have been cancelled due to weather, 42 arrivals and 40 departures. Two morning flights out of Tweed-New Haven airport to Philadelphia have also been cancelled.
AAA’s Roadside Rescue Team reports they have received 739 calls for help from drivers since midnight.
CSP has responded to 66 crashes, 6 with minor injury, 267 motorist assists and 879 calls for service.
Connecticut two major electric utilities, Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating, say they have crews ready to go to restore any outages the snow and ice may cause, but so far it’s been quiet for them. CL&P is looking at what parts of the state could be hardest hit.
“That’s what we’ve been focusing on the most,” CL&P spokesman Frank Poirot said on Good Morning Connecticut. “The amount of snow, its density, and the amount of wind, and in addition to that, where in the state those three components are going to come together rather quickly.
Poirot said they’re looking closely at coastal areas as well as the northeast corner of the state.
As of 12:45 p.m., there were only 51 reported power outages.
“Next we have the final phase of the nor’easter, as the back edge of the storm moves northeast and approaches Connecticut. Already hearing reports of flurries looking like we’ll get one to three inches more of snow fall tonight, hill towns two to four inches,” said Meteorologist Erika Martin. “We’ve seen really high totals already. New Canaan accumulated about 13 inches, Darien accumulated about 12 inches and New Havven accumulated just under 10 inches so far. Final numbers on how much we’ve recieved from this storm, should be more accurate by tomorrow morning.
LINK: Storm Team 8 Forecast