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Snow continues to fall, roads remain treacherous

Connecticut Post
Updated 10:19 pm, Wednesday, November 7, 2012


  • A man walks on Patriot Dive in Danbury during the afternoon snow, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. Photo: Carol Kaliff / The News-Times
    A man walks on Patriot Dive in Danbury during the afternoon snow, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. Photo: Carol Kaliff


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Days after Superstorm Sandy caused widespread flooding and wind damage around Southwestern Connecticut, a nor'easter dropped several inches of snow on the weary region, leading to traffic accidents and clogged roads, downed trees and more power outages.

The unexpected amount of snow led to traffic jams around the state, including on the Merritt Parkway, Route 25 and Route 8, with cars crawling along those roads. The evening rush hour was a slushy mess, with spinouts and accidents reported.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's office said on its Facebook page: "The nor'easter hit earlier and harder than expected, and also impacted at the beginning of rush hour. Essentially, the worst time for the storm to hit because of the amount of traffic on the roads."

The DOT has 100 percent of its crews and 632 trucks on the roads and will continue plowing and salting throughout the night to stop the roads from icing up as the snow turns into rain.

WTNH meteorologist Quincy Vagell said in a post on WXedge.com that most of the state will receive 4 to 8 inches of snow, while some areas may see as much as 10 to 12 inches. The inland areas of New Haven County had already seen about 6 to 8 inches of snow by 8 p.m., and Vagell said those areas would receive the highest totals.

Vagell said a heavy band got stuck over Connecticut, leading to larger snow totals than originally forecasted.

"Periods of heavy snow will continue for most areas through 10 p.m.," Vagell said in the post. "The snow will taper to lighter snow by midnight with only a few leftover snow showers expected beyond that. Most of the accumulating snow will happen over the next few hours."

As of 10 p.m., the highest snowfall total reported by storm spotters to the National Weather Service was in Wallingford, with 10 inches. In Clintonville, a section of North Haven, 9.5 inches of snow fell. Nine inches was reported in Hamden.

Also in New Haven County, 9 inches of snow was reported in Seymour, 8 in Shelton, 6.2 in Naugatuck, 5.5 in Ansonia and 4 in Derby.

In Fairfield County, there were 9 inches of snow reported in Monroe, 7.1 in Danbury, 6 in Greenwich and Darien, 5.5 in Ridgefield, 5 in Brookfield, 4 in Bridgeport and Norwalk and 3.5 in Stratford.

Just after 6 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for northern New Haven and Fairfield counties until 6 a.m.

The warning also includes northern Middlesex County in Connecticut, and northern Westchester County in New York.

A winter weather advisory is still in effect for the coastline in Fairfield and New Haven counties, with 3 to 5 inches of snow and wind gusts up to 55 mph possible.

The majority of the snow -- and the problems on the roads -- was in the corridor between New Haven and Middlesex counties, along I-91. Several issues were also reported on the Merritt Parkway in Greenwich, where a tree fell, and traffic was slowed by the wet snow.

Two fatal crashes occurred during the early hours of the storm, in Granby and Lebanon. Numerous other spinouts and fender-benders were reported around the state.

Schools across the state let students out early and canceled nighttime activities. Halloween festivities, delayed from last Wednesday to this week by some officials, were again postponed in some towns, including Stratford and Fairfield.

United Illuminating reported 2,527 outages as of 10 p.m., while Connecticut Light & Power had 2,029 customers in the dark.

Most of the UI outages were in Ansonia, where 1,782 customers were without power.

In Bridgeport, there were only 44 outages at 10 p.m., but earlier in the evening there were more than 1,700. Transformer explosions on Boston Avenue, Trumbull Avenue and Fairfield Avenue caused the majority of the outages at the time. Residents in Black Rock reported seeing a blue explosion and then a loud whirring-sound in their neighborhood. Police said the Resco energy plant had to shut down because of a power outage, causing the sound.

UI also reported 190 outages in Fairfield, 129 and 118 in Stratford.

In CL&P territory, 133 Wilton customers were without power, along with 107 in Danbury, 75 in Westport, 65 in New Canaan, 58 in Stamford and 49 in Greenwich. Outages had been in the thousands in Stamford and Greenwich at certain points during the storm.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy partially activated the Emergency Operations Center where they are monitoring the nor'easter.

Shoreline towns smacked by Sandy prepared for the nor'easter's impact, which includes the threat of high winds and coastal flooding.

In Milford, Capt. Tom Thornberg said a voluntary evacuation order was issued for residents in low-lying areas, but he said most people there had already gone to other places because of flood damage caused from Sandy.

Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei also warned shoreline residents in his town of the possibility of flooding. In a Code Red message, Tesei ordered voluntary evacuations of low-lying areas, which were ripped apart by Superstorm Sandy.

"Keep in mind Hurricane Sandy has damaged many seawalls," Tesei said.

Over at Connecticut Light & Power, Mitch Gross, the utility's spokesperson, said the company is ready.

"We're prepared. We have 2,300 line workers and 1,360 tree workers still here from Sandy," he said. "We're encouraging our customers to be prepared. If a line comes down call 9-1-1. It is a an emergency.

United Illuminating spokesman Michael West said the utility has maintained its linemen and tree crew at nearly the same level as it had immediately after Sandy abated. "We'll have plenty of crews on standby if necessary.''

In addition to the winter storm warning, the National Weather Service has issued a number of warnings and advisories including:

A high wind warning from 1 p.m. Wednesday through 4 a.m. Thursday. Damaging winds -- some gusting to 60 mph -- are possible, causing downed trees and power lines. Strong winds could also make driving difficult later today.

A coastal flood warning from 2 p.m. Wednesday through 7 a.m. Thursday. There is the possibility of moderate flooding during high tide -- shortly after 5 p.m. along the southwestern coastline. Beach erosion may be increased by large, breaking waves, because Sandy last week stripped away many dunes and a lot of sand from the shoreline.

About 20 flights were canceled at Bradley Airport in Windsor Locks, but the airport didn't shut down.

Major airlines Wednesday were scrapping flights in and out of the New York area ahead of the storm. United, the world's largest airline, suspended most New York City service starting at noon American Airlines was shutting down in New York at 3 p.m. and was also stopping flights to and from Philadelphia at noon.

Most other airlines asked passengers to reschedule their Northeast flights for a later date.