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Obama Approves Emergency Declaration for CT Following Blizzard [UPDATE]

Patch will update this post with information pertaining to travel, outages and accidents that affect wide swaths of Fairfield County in the storm's wake.

 

4:37 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 10

Gov. Malloy is asking all non-essential state employees to stay home on Monday as the clean up effort continues. However, evening and midnight shift employees should report to work as normal on Monday.

“Getting streets clear and making them safer for everyone is a priority, so I am asking nonessential state employees to stay home tomorrow,” Malloy said. “I understand that everyone wants to get back to normal as quickly as possible. Crews are working around the clock to accomplish that goal. But the last thing we need at this point is a typical morning rush hour commute. Traffic build-up will only delay the effort to clear our roads."

12:11 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 10

With all the snow that fell across Connecticut, residents are wondering how and when they will get their mail.

"We will attempt delivery where it is safe to do so but customers will need to clear the way to the mailbox," said U.S. Postal Service Representative Christine Dugas via an e-mail to Patch.

The USPS is requesting that customers clear their mailboxes and walkways of snow and ice during the snowy season.

"Several employees have suffered serious injuries related to slips, trips and falls during the winter months," according to a USPS press release. "Customers are asked to clear enough snow from curbside boxes to allow mail trucks to approach the box, deliver the mail and to drive away from the box without danger or the need for backing."

The release also noted the following requests:

  • Walkways should be cleared of snow and ice and allow enough traction to avoid slips, trips or falls.
  • Stairs should also be kept in good repair and free of ice and snow so as not to cause injury to the letter carriers or others who visit the customer’s home.
  • Adding salt or sand to walkways can decrease the chance of injury, not just to letter carriers but to other visitors as well.

12:08 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 10

Gov. Malloy announced Sunday that his request for a presidential emergency declaration in the wake of Friday’s winter storm has been approved. He is also urging residents to continue staying off the roads today unless absolutely necessary.

“This declaration will provide much needed assistance to the state and our towns and cities as we continue to recover from this historic winter storm,” Malloy said. “While the ban on travel has been lifted, we are continuing to urge residents to stay off the roads, if at all possible. This is particularly true for tractor trailers. Every time someone gets stuck, it is preventing plows from doing their jobs.”

9:18 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 10

A regular Sunday schedule is in effect on the New Haven Line between Stamford and Grand Central, but service remains suspended between Stamford and New Haven as well as on the branch lines, according to the Metro-North Web site.

6:21 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 9

Gov. Malloy announced on Saturday that he submitted a request for a presidential emergency declaration in the wake of Friday’s winter storm.

“As we continue with the recovery from this historic winter storm, I am asking the federal government to provide us assistance with this process,” he said.  “If granted, this declaration would provide much needed help to our state.”

If granted, the emergency declaration will provide for direct federal assistance, including possible snow removal equipment and personnel, power generation and other commodities.

3:19 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 9

Gov. Malloy today announced Satuday afternoon that the travel ban will be lifted at 4 p.m. and applies roads, including limited access highways.

"While we are lifting the ban on travel this afternoon at 4 p.m. I still want to urge residents to stay off the roads if at all possible," he said. "Crews are out clearing roadways as we speak, but the fact is we are going to feel the impact of this storm for some time.  The longer we can keep traffic out of town centers and off of our highways, the more effective our recovery effort will be. "

2:24 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 9

As Gov. Malloy said during a Saturday press conference, keeping outdoor vents and natural gas meters clear of snow and ice is an important precaution to avoid carbon monoxide hazards.  

Yankee Gas has developed a Winter Safety YouTube video to help customers understand how to safely perform that work.  The video is can viewed at the right or is available at http://youtu.be/hY44x-Mi5w8

11:53 am, Saturday, Feb. 9

Historic snowfall amounts and prevailing blizzard conditions that have left the state at a virtual standstill served as the backdrop for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's briefing this morning.

The governor urged residents to stay home so that state and local public works crews can begin clearing roads. And he asked folks to be patient as the cleanup is expected to take some time.

“This is going to go on for a number of days,” Malloy said.

The priority right now, he said, is clearing roads in southeastern Connecticut, where approximately 39,000 households are without power. Those are primarily CL&P customers, Malloy said.

The utility, the state's largest, is amassing crews so that restoration efforts can begin once roads are clear and winds, which are still gusting upwards of 50 miles per hour, subside.

Cars stranded on state and local roads are expected to prolong the cleanup effort, Malloy said. He will update residents on progress at 6 p.m.

In the meantime, he offered a few safety tips:

  • Make sure vents to household appliances like dryers are not blocked by snow. If blocked, carbon monoxide could build up inside and prove deadly.
  • Generators should be properly ventilated to the outdoors.
  • If you live near a fire hydrant, dig it out so firemen can access in the event of an emergency.

Responding to Emergencies

With many roads impassable, Malloy said that he is working with municipalities to make sure they have the necessary vehicles to respond to emergency calls. Many vehicles like ambulances cannot travel through two feet of snow, so four-wheel drive vehicles are in operation.

Municipalities also have open lines of communication between public works and emergency responders so that they can make sure their routes are clear.

Elderly Woman Killed, Temperatures Dropping

Malloy said the blizzard has claimed the life of at least one resident. The woman, an 80 or 81-year-old Prospect resident, was reportedly hit by a vehicle while snow blowing her driveway last night. The vehicle that struck her did not stop, he said.

With temperatures expected to dip tonight, and some without power, the governor said he is working with municipalities to open shelters where necessary, and provide transportation to those who may need it, especially the elderly.

To find out if a shelter is open in your town, call 2-1-1.

 

5:53 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 9

Gov. Dannel Malloy has issued a ban on road travel throughout Connecticut. His office released this statement, emailed at 5:33 a.m.:

Governor Malloy has ordered all roads in Connecticut closed until further notice. This traffic ban extends to all vehicles except for those emergency response and recovery vehicles with the capacity to maneuver in heavy snow.

"It's critical right now that residents stay off the roads, so that our plows can continue their efforts to clear our streets and highways," said Governor Malloy.  "This is a record setting storm.  It's going to take time to dig out of the snow.  Stalled or abandoned vehicles will only slow that process.  Unless you face an emergency, please stay put."

Notice of the travel ban was sent over the state's Emergency Broadcast System.

9:08 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8

Amtrak and Shore Line East train service has also been suspended, according to a statement released by Gov. Malloy's office. Amtrak is planning to resume service at 11:00 a.m. Saturday.  Shore Line East Service service is suspended until further notice.

8:44 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8

Train service on Metro-North's New Haven line will be suspended until further notice, according to an MTA email alert.

The last Eastbound train will be the 10:22 p.m. train from Grand Central making all stops to New Haven with connections to New Canaan and Danbury Branches.

The last Westbound train will be the 9:17 p.m. train from New Haven making all stops, including Fordham, to Grand Central arriving at 11:29 PM.  The last train from New Canaan departs at 9:30 p.m.; the last train from Danbury departs at 8:59 p.m.

5:36 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8

So far the number of power outages across lower Fairfield County remain low, although 280 New Canaan customers are reporting that they currently don't have power, according to CL&P's outage map as of 5:16 p.m.:

Darien: No outages reported
Greenwich: 0.01 percent (or two customers)
New Canaan: 3 percent (or 280 customers)
Norwalk: No outages reported
Redding: No outages reported
Stamford: 0.01 percent (or five customers)
Wilton: 0.01 percent (or one customer)
Weston: No outages reported
Westport: 0.15 (or 19 customers)

And according to United Illuminating's outage map, there are currently no outages reported in Fairfield and Easton.

 

5:14 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8

The following release was sent by the state's Department of Motor Vehicles:

Governor Dannel P. Malloy today ordered that all expiration dates and periods of validity for motor vehicle registrations, licenses, permits, certificates and other forms of credentials issued by or on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles be immediately extended until further notice due to the impact of the severe snow storm affecting the region.

“Due to the significant impact on Connecticut, the state is extending all motor vehicle deadlines and expiration dates until the storm has ended and we can assess its effects. People cannot right now meet these deadlines, especially since we want people to stay at home and avoid the severe weather,” Commissioner Melody A. Currey said.

Motor vehicle deadlines and expiration dates will be extended to a date that has yet to be determined.

 

4:53 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8

The following forecast is from the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security:


At 3:45 PM radar and surface observations indicated heavy snow moving into Southern Connecticut with moderate snow falling across Northern CT. Temperatures currently range from around 30 F in Northern CT to the low 30’s at the coast.  NE Winds at 15 – 20 MPH are gusting to near 35 MPH at the coast.

Friday Afternoon: Snow becoming heavy statewide by 5:30 PM with temperatures starting to fall into the upper 20’s in Northern CT.  NE Winds increasing to 15 – 25 MPH gusting to 40 MPH at times.

Friday Evening and Overnight: Blizzard conditions with snowfall rates up to 5” per hour and zero visibilities at times in blowing and drifting snow.  Lows dropping into the low 20’s statewide with Northeast Winds gusting to 50 MPH inland and up to 70 MPH along the coast. Moderate power outages and moderate coastal flooding expected during the evening high tide. Tides are forecast to run 2 – 4 feet above normal resulting in overland flooding 1 – 3 feet deep in low lying areas of Western Long Island Sound during high tide which is at 9:50 PM in Western Long Island Sound.

Saturday Morning: Heavy snow tapering to moderate snow from West to East between 5:00 – 8:00 AM.  Strong North Winds gusting to 50 MPH Inland and 60 MPH at the Coast.  Zero visibilities at times with Blizzard Conditions until 8:00 AM.  Later in the morning the moderate snow is forecast to taper off to flurries by Noon.

Saturday Afternoon: Continued blowing and drifting of snow with Northwest winds gusting to 40 MPH at times and ground blizzard conditions at times.

Total snowfall may be historic with 16 – 24” in Western CT, 20 – 36” in Central and Eastern CT and 15 – 30” along the coast.  Isolated amounts to 40” may occur. 

 

4:34 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8

Metro-North will operate on a reduced schedule until 8 p.m. Friday, according to an email alert.

Between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. on Saturday, limited service will be available. On the Hudson Line, there will be hourly service in both directions. On the New Haven and Harlem Lines, there will be hourly inbound (to NY) service and half-hourly outbound service out of Grand Central.

Many connecting bus services within the Metro-North service territory are suspending services due to weather conditions, so commuters are being advised to check with their bus provider before traveling.

2:27 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8

Norwalk Transit District will suspend all services as of 5:00 PM this evening. The services will end as follows:

  • WHEELS Routes 1, 2, 4, 8, and 11 will end with the 4:20 pm pulse
  • WHEELS Routes 5/6 and 12 will end with the 3:40 pm pulse
  • WHEELS Routes 3, 7, 9, 10 and 13 will end with the 4:40 pm pulse
  • There will be no Evening Shuttle Services
  • Norwalk Commuter Shuttle services will meet the 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00 pm trains departing Norwalk. Shuttles will start their runs from their first stop one hour prior to the train time.
  • Westport Commuter Shuttles services will meet the 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00 pm trains arriving in Westport.
  • The 7 Link will leave Norwalk at 3:00 pm and go as far as the Branchville station.
  • Coastal Link services will end at 4:00 pm with the last bus leaving Norwalk at 2:50 pm.
  • All ADA services will end by 4:00 pm.

"Our hope is to resume WHEELS service by noon on Saturday," Web site stated. "No ADA service will be provided on Saturday."

 

2:22 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8

Gov. Malloy announced Friday afternoon that CT TRANSIT bus service will begin shutting down service at 4 p.m. and all buses will stop running by 6 p.m. The shut down will be in effect for the entire state until further notice.

 

2:18 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8

The following is a presse release sent by CL&P:

As snow falls quickly across all of Connecticut, Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) is prepared to address any storm-related power outages.  With record-breaking snowfall and high winds predicted, downed tree limbs pose a significant threat to the company’s electric system.  Customers are encouraged to prepare for prolonged outages as a result of the storm.  

CL&P is pre-staging employees and materials in locations across the state, and is preparing vehicles by adding tire chains, to travel safely across slippery roads in poor visibility conditions. In addition to CL&P’s approximately 400 line workers, hundreds of outside line workers are arriving to provide assistance, with hundreds more expected tomorrow.  

Being Prepared
CL&P encourages customers to prepare by assembling or restocking a storm kit and making arrangements to look out for their families, friends and neighbors. In addition, customers who are dependent on electricity for critical medical needs are urged to make preparations now to switch to a backup source or move to an alternate location if necessary.

Staying Safe
Safety is always the top priority. Any customer using a generator should make sure it has been installed properly for their own safety, and the safety of line workers working to restore power.  For important generator safety tips, check out CL&P’s “Using a Generator Safely” video on YouTube at http://youtu.be/IMD1pZc3EHM.  

Staying Informed
The Connecticut American Red Cross, one of CL&P’s partners in emergency preparedness, provides helpful information and resources at www.ctredcross.org.  For tips and updates from CL&P, follow us on Twitter @CTLightandPower and like us on Facebook at facebook.com/ctlightandpower.

 

11:05 a.m., Friday, Feb 8

Governor Malloy announced Friday morning that he will declare a state of emergency in preparation for the coming blizzard, which is anticipated to heavily impact the state Friday and Saturday, according to a release sent by his office. He also announced that limited access highways may be subject to closure as early as noon and is asking all residents to limit nonessential travel.

"People need to take this storm seriously. If current predictions are accurate, we will need people to stay off the roads so that emergency personnel and utility crews can get to the places they need to get to, and to make sure that our plows can keep critical roadways clear," Malloy said. "Please stay home once the weather gets bad except in the case of real emergency."

The following forecast is provided by the State Emergency Operations Center:

Friday Morning…Snow quickly becoming moderate at times between now and 11:00 AM.  Temperatures holding in the upper 20’s in Northern CT and near 30 F along the coast.  NE Winds 10 – 15 MPH gusting to 20 MPH.    

Friday Afternoon…Snow in Northern CT with a mix in Southern CT becoming heavy at times between noon - 2:00 PM with temperatures holding in the upper 20’s in Northern CT and near 30 F at the coast.  NE Winds increasing to 15 – 25 MPH gusting to 40 MPH    

Friday Evening and Overnight…Blizzard conditions with snowfall rates up to 5” per hour and zero visibilities at times in blowing and drifting snow.  Lows dropping into the low 20’s statewide with Northeast Winds gusting to 40 MPH inland and up to 60 MPH along the coast.  Moderate power outages and moderate coastal flooding expected with high tide just before midnight in Western Long Island Sound.   

Saturday Morning…Heavy snow tapering to moderate snow from West to East between 5:00 – 8:00 AM.  Strong North Winds gusting to 40 MPH Inland and 50 MPH at the Coast.  Zero visibilities at times with Blizzard Conditions until 8:00 AM.  Later in the morning the moderate snow is forecast to taper off to flurries by Noon.   

Saturday Afternoon…Continued blowing and drifting of snow with Northwest winds gusting to 40 MPH at times and ground blizzard conditions at times.

 

10:01 a.m., Friday, Feb. 8

The state Department of Motor Vehicles has released the following information:

Department of Motor Vehicles' offices statewide will be closed on Saturday. The agency is already closed today. AAA offices statewide are closing at noon today for DMV transactions and also will be closed Saturday, although the company will be taking calls for roadside assistance.

Customers seeking an emissions test should check today and tomorrow on which test stations are open and continuing testing. A list of test stations can be found at ctemissions.com

Customers with cancelled road test appointments or Cheshire office learner's permit tests can reschedule by calling the DMV Phone Center when offices reopen. DMV will provide further information as conditions arise regarding additional customer service issues.

Passenger car drivers need to remember to scrape off the heavy amounts of snow and ice before traveling or face a possible $75 fine for having a car on the road loaded down with these icy elements.

8:17 a.m Friday, Feb. 8

Metro-North has released the following message for its customers via email: "Please take care when traveling during inclement weather and allow for additional travel time. Customers should use caution when entering and exiting trains, and on platforms and staircases."

12:05 a.m. Friday, Feb. 8

Department of Motor Vehicles' offices statewide will be closed Friday and officials will determine after storm hits whether to open offices on Saturday for the usual morning hours. Customers with cancelled road test appointments or Cheshire office learner's permit tests can reschedule by calling the DMV Phone Center when offices reopen. For information regarding DMV operations, please visit ct.gov/dmv.

11 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7

Governor Malloy announced that he will fully activate the state’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Friday at 9 a.m. to continue coordinating the state’s response to the storm.

“Based on the forecasts we’re looking at now, I am asking nonessential state employees to remain at home on Friday,” Malloy said in a statement released by his office. “If the worst-case scenario plays out, we will need roads clear for emergency personnel and utility crews. But even under the best of circumstances, it appears at this point that the best coarse of action is to keep people off the roads. Whether you’re a state employee or not, if you can stay home and off the roads tomorrow, please do so.”

Malloy is asking nonessential state employees to stay home on Friday in advance of the blizzard, however, evening and midnight shift employees should report to work as normal on Friday.

6:30 p.m. Thursday Feb. 7

Metro-North Railroad officials say they're changing scheduled service in the face of the winter storm expected to hit this area before dawn on Friday.

"There will be extra trains during the early afternoon to help customers return home," Metro-North says on its website. "This schedule will result in reduced service during the PM peak. Train combinations and cancellations are possible at any time, but increase in likelihood as the evening progresses to prevent trains from becoming stranded during the storm"

Here's the plan:

Metro-North will operate a regular schedule until 12 Noon.

Between 12 Noon and 8 PM, Metro-North will operate a revised schedule (see details below) or MTA's interactive schedules page.

New Haven Line (see a schedule)

Extra trains will depart from Grand Central at:

  • 12:04 PM, stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Westport, and all stations between Fairfield and New Haven.
  • 1:04 PM, stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Westport, and all stations between Fairfield and New Haven.
  • 1:59 PM, stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Stamford, then all stations to South Norwalk. 
  • 2:04 PM, stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Westport, and all stations between Fairfield and New Haven.
  • 2:28 PM, stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then all stations between New Rochelle and Harrison.
  • 2:31 PM, stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Westport, and all stations between Fairfield and New Haven.
  • 2:59 PM, stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then all stations between Stamford and South Norwalk.
  • 3:02 PM, stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then all stations between New Rochelle and Harrison.
  • 3:23 PM, stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Stamford, Westport, and all stations between Fairfield and New Haven.
  • 3:27 PM, stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then all stations between New Rochelle and Harrison.
  • 4:02 PM, stopping at Harlem-125th Street, Stamford, and all stations between Bridgeport and New Haven.
  • 5:20 PM, stopping at Harlem-125th Street, then all stations between Mount Vernon East and Harrison.
  • 6:02 PM, stopping at all stations between Mount Vernon East and Harrison.

The following trains usually departing Grand Central will not operate or are combined:

  • The 5:17 PM to Harrison and the 5:20 PM to New Rochelle are combined, departing Grand Central at 5:20 PM, stopping at Harlem-125th Street and all stations between Mount Vernon East and Harrison.
  • The 5:36 PM to Harrison will not operate.
  • The 5:59 PM to Harrison and 6:02 PM to New Rochelle are combined, departing Grand Central at 6:02 PM, stopping at Harlem-125th Street and all stations between Mount Vernon East and Harrison.
  • The 6:11 PM to New Haven will also stop at South Norwalk and Westport.
  • The 6:17 PM to Bridgeport will not operate.
  • The 6:38 PM to Harrison will not operate.
  • The 7:11 PM to Harrison will not operate.
  • The 8:04 PM to New Haven will not operate. As the evening progresses, train service may be reduced or suspended depending upon weather conditions so that no trains become stranded.
Mrs. P. Booth February 08, 2013 at 06:28 PM
Hey Dave- Perhaps you might be well served with a little night school yourself. Have you ever heard of punctuation and spelling? It's you're, not "your"! And I suspect there were several sentences in your rant, but it's hard to tell since you seem to be allergic to punctuation. At least Patch is endeavoring to keep people safe.
E P Leary February 08, 2013 at 06:33 PM
Is there a reason why YOU are so nasty (and don't know the difference between your and you're)? Oh well, looks to me as if they are just reporting what officials are saying nd keeping the public informed...better safe than sorry.
michael February 09, 2013 at 04:37 PM
How long is the road traffic suspended ,and if your out driving will they ticket you???? Thanx
Michael Dinan (Editor) February 09, 2013 at 04:47 PM
@michael yes they can ticket you. Next update from the governor set for 6 p.m. (http://patch.com/A-1MML) -Mike
Suzze February 09, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Getting cabin fever... When can we go out? Does this mean all Greenwich businesses are closed? All stores, restaurants etc.?
Jim Eastwood February 09, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Susan Did you get the message==Stay Home---So the State can get back to normal. If you have "Cabin Fever" Grab a shovel, go dig out a Fire Hydrant, or better yet go help your neighbor !!!!!
Suzze February 09, 2013 at 07:32 PM
Actually, we did just that... Dug out a neighbor. I was just trying to get it further clarified. Asking because I had Valentine's Day dinner plans with my husband. Which we will reschedule. Sheez!
Jim Eastwood February 09, 2013 at 09:25 PM
Thank you Susan !!!!!! I hope everyone is OK !!!
Steven Rosenbaum February 10, 2013 at 11:22 AM
At last check, it snows in New England. In winter. Which is now. It is beyond comprehension that our Governor is seeking "Federal Assistance." Who pays for "Federal Assistance?" Wait for it ..... Wait for it ..... We pay for it.
BCT February 10, 2013 at 01:10 PM
"Never let a good crisis go to waste." Rahm Emanuel Big budget deficit. A massive army of state Transportation workers to support/enrich......Where there is tax money to redistribute, everything is an emergency. Partisans profit and it looks like they are 'doing something'. One hand washes the other and people are lulled into thinking it can go on forever as long as someone else is paying.
not2bdenied February 11, 2013 at 04:39 PM
You would be the first to complain if it was you or your family that needed goverment assistance and it wasn't available. Please donate/refuse your medicare and social security at your earliest.
Glen K Dunbar February 11, 2013 at 05:01 PM
I sure NEED/Deserve a Govt bail out. Yet, guess what.??? no takers as usualy,. all the Govt has to do is print more money. What is the problems???

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