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At a brief 5 pm press conference, Governor Dannel Malloy announced that he signed a declaration instituting a Civil Preparedness Emergency, and instituted a travel ban ahead of a late winter blizzard that could dump as much as two feet of wind-blown snow on Newtown and much of western Connecticut.
“Connecticut is well versed in responding to snow storms,” Governor Malloy said. “We drill for these events in the summertime so we know what needs to be done, and certainly we’ve had a lot of experience going back to 2013 where we saw a storm drop more snow than we’ve seen in our modern history. And we expect periods of snowfall in this storm [Tuesday] to be greater than it was in 2013.”
The travel ban bars all vehicular traffic including passenger vehicles from the state’s limited access highways beginning at 5 am Tuesday morning, March 14, and “until further notice.” Passenger vehicles carrying essential supplies or personnel, along with emergency, public safety, and recovery vehicles, will be permitted.
The governor is fully activating the state’s Emergency Operations Center starting at 5 am on Tuesday, and has directed all nonessential first and second-shift state employees to not report to work.
“Snowfall is expected to begin shortly before sunrise and will increase quickly, with peak blizzard conditions reached only several hours later. Everyone in Connecticut is urged to plan ahead – wherever you are at sunrise Tuesday morning, expect to remain there throughout the remainder of the storm and into the night,” Governor Malloy said. “With snow coming down at rates in excess of three to four inches per hour at points and winds reaching as much at 60 miles per hour, white out conditions will severely limit visibility. Residents are urged to make safety a priority and to not make any attempt to travel.”
The governor is encouraging everyone in Connecticut to continually monitor local media outlets throughout the day this evening and tomorrow as further announcements from the state regarding the storm will be made.
Among other points he made during the press session were:
*The Bradley Airport terminal will remain open throughout the duration of the storm, although there is a chance all runways will be temporarily closed. Numerous flight cancellations are already in effect.
*Public bus service for Tuesday has been canceled throughout the state.
*The governor expects train service will be “greatly curtailed or eliminated at some time during the day.”
*State DOT crews have been out all day Monday pre-treating highways and state roads.
Besides the state’s 634 snow plows and removal vehicles, the governor said 250 additional contract plows are all poised to begin working as soon as snow begins blanketing roadways.
“New this winter is some DOT equipment that can actually plow upwards of three lanes at a a time, and we will be using all equipment to the greatest extent possible as conditions permit,” Governor Malloy said, adding that when the snowfall is at its peak, plow access is expected to be challenging, and most vehicles will be moving slowly in order to effect the best results.
“We normally plow at about 25 miles an hour, but we’re getting that volume of snow — four to six inches an hour, we may be down to five miles per hour,” the governor said.
He also advised local municipalities to keep trucks on the road “throughout the period of the snowfall,” to avoid situations where snowfall overtakes the ability for some plows to be effective.
“State Police and National Guard will have extra personnel on hand to assist motorists, should they become stuck. But I urge you to stay off the roads,” he said.
The latest forecast has snowfall beginning between 3 to 5 am on Tuesday with blizzard conditions expected by 9 am. With winds reaching as much as 50 miles per hour inland and 60 miles per hour on the coast, there will be whiteout conditions for as much as six hours during the day. Snow is expected to taper off between 10 pm and midnight with final counts of 10 to 15 inches along the southeast coast, 16 to 20 inches at the southwest coast, 20 to 28 inches across central and western Connecticut, and 24 to 30 inches in the northwest hills and higher elevations.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) has spent the day on Monday pre-treating roadways. The agency has 634 plow trucks and 250 private contract plow operators on standby to be called in if necessary. CTDOT is responsible for more than 10,000 lane miles of roads in Connecticut. More than 35,000 lane miles of roads are maintained by Connecticut cities and towns.
On Friday, Governor Malloy activated the state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol, which directs certain state agencies to coordinate services that help the most vulnerable receive protection from the cold. It was scheduled to end on Monday morning; however he ordered the protocol to be extended through 8am on Thursday, March 16. A listing of all available shelters and warming centers that have been opened throughout the state can be found by calling 2-1-1.
For continuous updates throughout the duration of the storm, visit the State of Connecticut’s official winterstorm update website: