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New Canaan Braces for Blizzard

With strong gusts expected to follow heavy snowfall, public works and emergency officials are encouraging residents to stay off the roads and prepare.

 

Public works officials in New Canaan say they’re hearing 16 to 20 inches of snow will fall between early Friday and Saturday afternoon, creating dangerous road conditions and the threat of power outages.

According to Mose Saccary, the town DPW’s superintendent of operations, it’s difficult to predict any storm’s severity, though the predicted 30 mph winds and sustained gusts could make this blizzard especially harrowing.

“Nobody really knows until it goes,” Saccary said.

“We are very fortunate that we have one of the best crews around,” he added. “If we all take our time and are careful, I think we will be fine. The most important thing that helps us is if everybody stays home so they don’t get stuck on hills and things.”

The National Weather Service as of 1:30 p.m. Thursday was calling for snow to start falling before dawn Friday, mixing with rain through the afternoon and then turning to snow only overnight Friday, with up to a foot expected.

According to an alert from that Connecticut Light & Power sent to municipal officials: "CL&P's operational status is currently in WARNING mode. This means we are making appropriate notifications to stakeholders, implementing the appropriate preparedness procedures based on anticipated weather, and placing resources into standby mode.

“CL&P is prepared to respond to a winter storm that may bring between 18-24 inches of heavy, wet snow to Connecticut, beginning Friday between 2 and 4 a.m. The heaviest period of snowfall is expected after midnight Friday into Saturday morning.

"High winds will accompany the snow, with gusts up to 50 mph. Wind gusts in coastal and eastern areas of the state may reach 60 mph.

This is likely to be a regional event, having the greatest impact in coastal areas of all Northeastern states."

Mike Handler, head of New Canaan’s volunteer Emergency Operations Center, told Patch that strong winds could take down trees already laden with heavy snow—creating the danger of snapping power lines.

“Our concern at this time is not just the snow but also the risk of high winds and the difficulty of restoring power during snow,” Handler said.

Handler is urging residents to sign up at http://www.smartprepare.com, a free, digital system that stores a registrant’s 911 information so it’s at-hand for dispatchers and emergency personnel.

“The town of New Canaan has purchased a solution which will enable us to respond more efficiently and more effectively to a crisis,” Handler said. “In order for us to be able to do so, it starts with the individuals signing up with a family profile.”

The EOC will go into "monitoring mode" Friday, Handler said, and will fully staff should the need arise.

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