HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut is bracing for a major winter storm that could drop as much as 3 feet of snow in parts of the state, along with winds gusting up to 60 mph, and the possibility of coastal flooding. The state is under a blizzard warning until midnight Tuesday. A look at preparations for the storm:
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ordered a ban on travel on all state highways beginning at 9 p.m. Monday, Bradley International Airport was closing for flights at 7 p.m. Monday until further notice and the final train out of New York City on Metro-North’s New Haven line was scheduled to leave Grand Central Station at 9 p.m. Malloy said he did not know when service on Metro-North might resume, but with 2 to 3 feet of snow expected, he said he would not expect “too many trains” on Tuesday.
NATIONAL GUARD DEPLOYED
Four-hundred service members from the National Guard have been called out to help with the storm response. One focus of the troops overnight and into Tuesday is supporting state police as they assist any stranded drivers on state highways. A total of 16 highway-assistance teams have been positioned at more than a dozen military facilities around the state by the guard, which is expected to eventually have a role in storm removal during the recovery.
A TEST FOR A MAJOR UTILITY
The storm is shaping up as a test for the state’s largest utility, Connecticut Light & Power, which has been heavily criticized by state officials and consumers for delays in restoring power following outages in recent years. CL&P is emailing and phoning customers warning of possible outages during the storm, which has the potential to bring down power lines. The utility has upgraded equipment and cleared tree branches and limbs since destructive storms in 2011. CL&P, a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, serves 1.2 million customers in 149 municipalities and towns. Line crews from areas not affected by the storm were on their way to help with the recovery in Connecticut, Malloy said.
Utilities are predicting outages will likely affect more than 100,000 customers, and for those who do lose power, it could be several days before it’s restored. Many residents are preparing for the worst, filling up gas cans for generators and stocking up at grocery stores. Frank Kurzatkowski, a salesman from Southington, said he has gas cans for his snow blowers and three, five-gallon buckets of water at his home in case the power goes out and his well pump doesn’t work. After the storm ends, he plans to help unbury his neighborhood.
Many schools dismissed early Monday afternoon, and schools across the state were to close Tuesday. The University of Connecticut canceled classes on Monday afternoon and Tuesday, a board of trustees meeting on Wednesday and a men’s hockey game scheduled in Hartford on Tuesday night. The state Judicial Branch canceled jury duty on Tuesday and Wednesday. And the WWE canceled its RAW wrestling event in Hartford on Monday night.
Officials at Naval Submarine Base New London say it is open for only essential personnel through Tuesday. A spokesman for the Navy base in Groton, the primary port for East Coast attack submarines, says it will have public works teams ready to respond to any incident and keep essential operations running.
ANOTHER STORM FOR MALLOY
Malloy activated the emergency operations center. Such preparations are a familiar drill for the Democrat, who dealt with a series of blockbuster storms during his first term, including Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene. In Malloy’s first two years in office President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for Connecticut for five separate storms.
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