Update: Storm blows in, closing schools, courts and state offices

Published on Tuesday, 13 March 2018 06:30
Written by Lisa Backus


The heaviest bands of snow have moved into central Connecticut and forecasters are expecting the third storm in less than two weeks to wind down by 2 p.m., according to WFSB-TV Meteorologist Mark Dixon.

Eastern Connecticut hit the "jackpot," Dixon said, while the snow is already tapering off in western Connecticut, Dixon said. "They have 10 inches plus and the snow is coming down at two inches per hour," Dixon said of the eastern portion of the state.

Forecasters downgraded the impact of today's storm for Central Connecticut earlier today, now saying the area will get four to eight inches while other parts of the state could get a foot or more.

Roads are wet, slick and slushy most of the day in the New Britain area. The good news, Dixon said, is that the temperature has dropped so the snow is light and fluffy rather than wet and heavy like last week's storm which caused power outages throughout the state.

Dixon expected the heavier snow to move out of central Connecticut by about 2 p.m. and the snow would wind down in eastern Connecticut soon as well. Snow showers will linger throughout the rest of the day, he said.

With schools and state offices closed, it was a quiet day on the roads, according to area police.

New Britain police have been out in force since early this morning ticketing cars for parking on the streets during the snow parking ban which went into effect at midnight.

Third shift patrol officers issued 108 parking ban violation tickets overnight, Capt. William Steck said. New Britain Traffic Division officers who were brought in at 5 a.m. issued 125 parking ban violations and towed four cars, Steck said.

"We're only towing if it's a public safety issue or if Public Works says it's a problem," Steck said.

Otherwise the city is quiet with no major accidents, Steck said.

A good portion of a tree fell down onto Chamberlain Highway in Berlin around 10:30 a.m. said Acting Town Manager Jack Healy. 
Because the road is a state road, Healy said they contacted the Department of Transportation to remove it from just south of Bella's Pizza, 41 Chamberlain Highway.
The town's trucks and emergency center at Berlin High School were ready to go, Healy added, though plowing has happened only sporadically around town as road condition primarily consist of slush now.
No fire calls were made of 11 a.m., said Kensington Fire Department Chief Jeff Pajor, in an otherwise overall quiet morning in town.
All area schools including Tunxis Community College were closed in anticipation of deteriorating conditions with 8 to 12 inches of snow or more expected to fall in Central Connecticut by the time the storm finishes this evening.

About 65 percent of flights at Bradley Airport were cancelled as of this morning and state officials are urging residents to stay home. Parking bans in New Britain and Southington went into effect at midnight.

Judicial Branch officials announced at 7 a.m. that all courts are closed today. Former mayoral candidate Alfred Mayo found guilty of breach of peace in an assault on Mayor Erin Stewart was scheduled to be sentenced today. There is no word on when the sentencing will take place.

State offices for first-shift employees are also closed, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced this morning. “As the snowstorm develops and anticipated accumulation amounts across the state continue to grow, we believe that it is best to keep state offices closed for the day on Tuesday,” Malloy said in a statement. “We encourage everyone to be safe and stay off the roads if at all possible. If you absolutely must travel, please allow extra time, reduce speeds, keep a safe distance from plows, and do not attempt to pass plows, as that can be extremely dangerous. If employers can allow people to work from home or alter their hours, we encourage them to do that as well.”

Snow began falling in Central Connecticut by 4 a.m. WFSB-TV meteorologists Scot Haney and Mark Dixon said the storm will ramp up quickly with snow falling at rates of one, two and three inches per hour before 2 p.m. when the worst is expected to wind down.

WFSB-TV adjusted their forecast after two bands of heavy snow remained in place over eastern and western Connecticut while the center of the state was still seeing heavy flurries and slush. Other regions of the state may get up to a foot or more, WFSB-TV said.

With snowfall beginning to pick up this morning, Malloy warned Connecticut residents to stay off the road unless completely necessary.

The governor said the state Department of Transportation has 843 trucks on the roads, and drivers should keep a safe distance from plows. While snow is beginning to build up, Malloy said ice is something Department of Transportation workers are anticipating will be a problem soon.

“We’re concerned about a drop in temperature, and what that could mean fairly quickly,” Malloy said of the potential for ice.

The governor said state officials do not expect the same level of power outages as last week. There are about 1,800 outages reported in the state as of 10 a.m., Malloy said.

Metro North services are operating, with some delays, as are the state’s busses. Amtrak and Shoreline east trips have been suspended for the day. About 65 percent of flights to and from Bradley International Airport have been cancelled.

Malloy partially opened the state’s Emergency Operations Center at 4 a.m.

Regular storm issues are causing about 2,300 customers around the state, or less than 1 percent, to be without power during the storm as of 11 a.m., Mitch Gross, Eversource spokesperson said. Most of them occurring on the eastern portion of the state, he added.

An unspecified equipment failure is causing 17 customers, in a strip mall on West Street to be without power in Southington, as a 911 related incident caused 47 outages in Plainville, he said. Crews are responding to the issue in Southington as power has been restored in Plainville according to the outage map.
"We're dealing with heavy snow and wind," Gross said, which create conditions more likely to have trees fall and cause line and pole damage. "We continue to respond and keep answering calls, restoring power as quickly as we can. But we got a long way to go."
Staff writers Skyler Frazer and Charles Paullin contributed to this story.

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Tuesday, 13 March 2018 06:30. Updated: Tuesday, 13 March 2018 13:01.