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The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Fairfield County ahead of an approaching snow storm.
The weather service is predicting up to 7 inches of new snow for Newtown, and the region, could fall between 8 pm Monday, March 12, and late afternoon into early evening Tuesday, March 13. As a result, a Winter Storm Warning will be in effect from 8 pm Monday through 6 pm Tuesday.
Heavy snow is expected to reach portions of southern Connecticut and southeast New York, according to the warning issued at 3:30 am Monday.
“Plan on difficult travel conditions, including during the morning commute on Tuesday,” the warning states in part. “Tree branches could fall. Be prepared for significant reductions in visibility at times.
“A Winter Storm Warning for snow means severe winter weather conditions will make travel very hazardous or impossible,” the statement continued. “If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. Check local Department of Transportation information services for the latest road conditions.”
The Newtown Bee will monitor and report on the storm, the third nor’easter in as many weeks.
Meanwhile, storm recovery efforts continue this morning following last week’s nor’easter, which dropped up to 24 inches of snow on Newtown. Public schools were closed for three days, and more than 2,400 of the town’s 11,300 Eversource customers — roughly 21 percent — were without power as of 9 am Thursday, March 8.
The utility on Monday said through a press release that its “massive, around-the-clock effort continues in high gear to get power back for customers still affected by Wednesday’s destructive nor’easter.”
Crews were working with “hundreds of utility workers from around the country, have restored power to more than 243,000 customers, replaced approximately 400 utility poles and strung more than 100 miles of new overhead lines — all while the company closely tracks the next storm expected to hit Connecticut Tuesday morning,” the release continued.
As of 10:20 am Monday, Eversource’s outage map showed one customer still without power. The utility serves 11,301 customers in Newtown.
According to the utility on Monday, “Crews are focusing on the remaining single or scattered outages. These are more complex outages that take additional time to complete and may require assistance from a private electrician or contractor. Lineworkers are going to each of these individual locations to assess what additional equipment or effort may be required to make repairs.”
The Next Storm
The weather forecast as of 9:35 am Monday called for “a chance of rain and snow before 8 pm, then snow. Low around 30. Wind chill values between 20 and 25. Northeast wind 9 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90 percent. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.”
For Tuesday, NWS was expecting snow, “mainly before 3 pm. High near 37. Wind chill values between 20 and 30. North wind 11 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.”
Tuesday night continued with “a 20 percent chance of snow showers before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 27. Wind chill values between 20 and 25. West wind 7 to 9 mph.”
Red Cross Reminders
The American Red Cross is issuing reminders ahead of the approaching storm, on the importance of being prepared.
The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for winter storms by doing the following:
*Assemble an Emergency Preparedness Kit.
Pack a winter-specific supply kit that includes a warm coat, hat, mittens or gloves, and water-resistant boots, along with extra blankets and extra warm clothing for each family member. Sand or non-clumping cat litter is good to have on hand to help make walkways or steps less slippery.
Additionally, make sure you have a first aid kit and a supply of essential medications, canned food and can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries in your home in the event of a power outage.
*Use technology to prepare and stay safe.
Red Cross preparedness apps are available for smartphone. The free apps have tips and real-time information to help prepare ahead of a storm, as well as tools to help residents keep in touch during and after a major storm.
In particular, the First Aid App has a special section devoted to severe winter weather with preparedness tips and information about coping during and after the storm. Get the apps for iPhones or Android phones at redcross.org/mobileapps.
*Heed Storm Warnings.
A Winter Storm WARNING means that life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. Individuals in a warning area should take precautions immediately. Stay tuned to local media to keep up with forecasts and additional warnings.
A Blizzard Warning is issued for winter storms with sustained or frequent winds of 35 mph or higher with considerable falling and/or blowing snow that frequently reduces visibility to one-wuarter of a mile or less.
These conditions are expected to prevail for a minimum of 3 hours.
*Use caution clearing snow.
Shoveling snow is strenuous work. Everyone should take the task slow and easy to guard against overexertion or back injury.
Take regular breaks. If using a snow thrower, keep hands and feet clear of moving parts. Always turn off your snow thrower and use a stick or other implement to clear blockages, never use your hands.
If there is a fire hydrant on your property, clear snow around the hydrant so it is accessible in the event of a fire.
*Tips for Home and Car.
Winterize vehicles and keep the gas tank full, which will help to keep the fuel line from freezing.
When the storm has passed, completely clear snow from all surfaces of the vehicle, which is not only safer for the driver and passengers of any vehicle, it’s also the law in Connecticut.
Be sure to keep furnace and gas dryer vents outside homes clear of snow to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
In the event of power and/or heat loss, running water at a trickle from a faucet helps to prevent pipes from freezing.
*Use generators safely.
Never operate a generator inside homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, sheds or other partially enclosed spaces, even if using a fan or opening doors and windows. Carbon Monoxide (CO) can quickly build up in these spaces and linger for hours after a generator is shut down.
Place generators outside, well away from windows, doors and vents. Shut down the generator before refueling it.
If you begin to feel sick, dizzy or weak while using a portable generator, shut it off and get to fresh air immediately. Those are symptoms of CO poisoning.
*Use care when outdoors in the cold.
Dress in light layers in order to adapt to temperatures.
Wear a hat; most body heat is lost through the head.
Mittens are warmer than gloves.
Wear insulated, waterproof footwear.
Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia that can be a serious medical condition: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Seek medical attention immediately if any of these symptoms being presenting.
Also recognize frostbite warning signs: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration; numbness, waxy feeling skin.
Seek medical attention immediately if these symptoms begin showing.