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"Historic Storm Winding Down." Madison And CT Under State Of Emergency; All Roads Closed

Wind and snow is expected to continue through Saturday morning, along with the possibility of cloud to ground lightning strikes. "Record setting storm."

 

Updated as of 5:15 a.m.

The National Weather Service says "the historic storm is winding down."  

Gov. Dannel Malloy has ordered all roads closed. 

As of 4 a.m., the NWS says the blizzard warning is in effect until noon Saturday. 

Here are some snowfall totals, unofficial observations, recorded by the National Weather Service for New Haven County

  • Hamden 34.0 130 AM 2/09 Public
  • Madison 32.0 321 AM 2/09 Public
  • Wolcott 31.0 247 AM 2/09 Skywarn Spotter
  • Meriden 30.0 400 AM 2/09 Public
  • New Haven 29.8 400 AM 2/09 CT DOT
  • North Branford 27.0 243 AM 2/09 Public
  • Guilford 27.0 200 AM 2/09 Public 
  • North Haven 25.7 204 AM 2/09 Skywarn Spotter
  • Milford 25.5 400 AM 2/09 CT DOT
  • North Guilford 24.0 1100 PM 2/08 Skywarn Spotter
  • North Branford 24.0 1230 AM 2/09 Public
  • Branford 22.0 1245 AM 2/09 Public
  • Southbury 21.0 130 AM 2/09 Skywarn Spotter
  • Naugutuck 21.0 200 AM 2/09 Public
  • Waterbury 18.0 400 AM 2/09 CT DOT
  • Beacon Falls 18.0 400 AM 2/09 CT DOT
  • Cheshire 16.0 1100 PM 2/08 Public

Here's Gov. Malloy's statement about closing the roads: 

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.

Madison Patch readers on Facebook who had to go into work in New Haven Friday afternoon, are reporting that emergency vehicles and even huge snow plows were getting stuck on the roads. A news crew from WTNH slide off the highway and had to spend the night in the vehicle. 

The New York Times is reporting that 650,000 are without power throughout the Northeast, mostly in New England

Marcy Reed, president of National Grid, said failures could last several days because repairs would not begin until the storm ended and would require unearthing power lines buried under mounds of snow.

Stonington and East Lyme were among the areas hardest hit in Connecticut, with more than 4,000 customers, or 50 percent of the town, without power in Stonington, and 7,652 without power in East Lyme, or 80 percent of the total CL&P customers in town. 

The National Weather Service is reporting that snow accumulations in some areas are up to 36 inches. As of 5 a.m., north winds from 15 to 25 mph were gusting upto 40 mph. Temperatures were in the lower 20s. "The strongest winds and heaviest snow will occur through daybreak ... travel is not recommended this morning as many roads are impassable with numerous reports of closed roads and stranded cars."

Updated as of 9:40 p.m. 

The National Weather Service says a blizzard warning remains in effect for Madison and the shoreline until 1 p.m. Saturday. Snow accumulations could be 18 to 25 inches in some areas. North winds of 25 to 35 mph are expected to continue, with gusts of up to 60 mph. Temperatures overnight are expected to be in the mid-20s. 

Visibilities could be near zero, with white-out conditions at times, the NWS says, and the strongest winds and heaviest snow will occur into Saturday morning. 

"A few cloud to ground lightning strikes are possible through late tonight. In addition, some trees and power lines will be downed, causing power outages," the NWS says. "A blizzard warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to whiteout conditions, making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle." 

Metro-North train service has been suspended for the time being. 

Gov. Dannel Malloy has declared a state of emergency, and is deploying National Guard troops around the state, according to WTNH.com. Gov. Malloy also instituted a travel ban around 4 p.m. Friday, until further notice: 

The ban applies to motor vehicle travel on limited access highways, with the exception of emergency response and recovery vehicles, including public safety and utility vehicles, and vehicles carrying essential personnel or supplies.  "As the weather gets worse over the next few hours, we need to keep the roads clear, so that emergency-related personnel and utility crews can reach those that may need our help. By traveling in these conditions, you are not only putting yourself in danger, but you are potentially risking the lives of first responders, utility workers and other residents. Please be safe," said Governor Malloy. The travel ban will remain in effect until further notice.

 

Original story: 

At an Emergency Meeting Friday morning, the Board of Selectmen declared a Local Civil Preparedness Emergency as of 9 a.m. Friday. 

"The First Selectman is authorized to take such action as he deems necessary in accordance with CGS Section 28-8a. At this time however, no actions have been taken," the town said in a prepared release.

A blizzard warning is in effect until 1 p.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service says. A long list of organizations and events have announced postponements or cancellations. See the details near the end of this article.

Spot shortages being quickly re-stocked

Early Friday morning, Stop & Shop was out of milk, but had lots of bread. Later that morning, they had milk, but were running low on certain kinds of bread. Store employees were hustling to re-stock as quickly as the items disappeared from the shelves. In addition to bread and milk, local residents were stocking up on a wide range of items including firewood, steak, drinks, and ingredients to make their favorite recipe or baked goods. People in line at the cash registers engaged in amiable conversations about plans for tonight and tomorrow, and what is for some, an unexpected long weekend. 

There were spot shortages of regular gasoline at some gasoline stations around town, but plenty of premium. Thursday night, Cumberland Farms was out of regular, but had premium. Then they ran out of premium Friday morning. Then, around 10:15 a.m., they got a delivery of regular, but were still out of premium. 

As people in Madison and surrounding towns stocked up on food and gas, and prepared to ride out the big blizzard, town and state road crews were out sanding the roads, in an effort to prevent them from becoming too slippery.

Stay off the roads

But, at this point, town officials and the police department are recommending people stay off the roads, if at all possible.  

"At this point, with the impending blizzard, the Madison Police Department suggests that people stay off the road unless absolutely necessary," said Madison Police Officer Joseph Race, the department spokesman. 

In nearby Guilford, the state Department of Transportation is reporting that Route 1 at Leetes Island Road is closed due to flooding, as of 10 a.m., and it is expected to be closed for about four hours or less. The state DOT also says there is a jackknifed tractor trailer on I-84 Eastbound between Exits 25A and 26 (1.4 miles), in Cheshire. The 3 right lanes are closed, as of 10 a.m. 

The state DOT also issued this statement: 

Inclement weather such as snow or ice during winter storms may cause numerous accidents to occur on state highways. Most accidents are not reported by the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the Connecticut State Police due to the unusually high number of incidents. However, reports will be provided on incidents that cause the MAJOR HIGHWAYS to be closed for a long period of time. Frequent updates on winter storms and roadway conditions can be obtained by listening or watching the local radio and television stations. For additional information on ROAD CONDITIONS DURING STORMS, you may call the Department of Transportation at 860-594-2650.

Gov. Dannel Malloy plans to declare state of emergency

Governor Dannel P. Malloy said he inteneded to declare a state of emergency as well, "in preparation for the coming blizzard which is anticipated to heavily impact the state Friday and Saturday."

In addition, the Governor announced that limited access highways may be subject to closure as early as noon.  The Governor 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," Governor Malloy said.  "Please stay home once the weather gets bad except in the case of real emergency." A Declaration of Emergency provides the Governor with a number of emergency powers, including:

- The ability to modify or suspend any state statute, regulation, or requirement (for example: altering work hours, waiving licensing requirements, etc.)
- The ability to order civil preparedness forces into action
- The ability to designate vehicle and person routes and movements

Parking ban in effect once snow begins to fall

Madison 911 Emergency Communications Center posted a reminder on Facebook about the town's parking ban: "REMINDER: Please remember that a parking ban will go into effect, once the snow starts to fall. The ban applies to all streets within Madison and will remain in effect until the storm ends and all streets can be completely cleared by the Town Highway Department. Cars will be ticketed and possibly towed if they are impeding snow removal efforts." 

Two accidents were reported by Madison 911 Friday morning, one at Boston Post Road and Cottage Road around 8:20 a.m., and another near Duck Hole Road and Fairfield Road around 9:20 a.m.

While it was not immediately clear if the weather played a role in either, the National Weather Service has warned that worsening weather conditions could continue to create problems for drivers as the day goes on and the storm gets worse. 

Travel extremely dangerous

The National Weather Service advised people not to travel. 

"Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to whiteout conditions, making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel," the NWS said. "If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides these tips for people who absolutely must travel: 

  • People who must travel should have already winterized their car.
  • If you must travel, keep your gas tank near full, as there are lines at some gas stations and spot shortages at some stations as well.
  • Avoid traveling alone, and let someone know your route and timetable. 

Additional tips are provided with the PDF posted with this article.

No need for shelters yet, but town will consider opening one Saturday if needed

 "At the moment there is no need for shelters," First Selectman Fillmore McPherson said Friday afternoon. As of Friday afternoon there were no power outages.

"We talked at some length about that [at the emergency preparedness planning meetings]. Right now everybody has power. There may at some point be a need for shelter when and if the power is interrupted. If the power goes off at 2 a.m. and the storm is still going on, we would not want people out driving in that. The first thing in the morning, we will be evaluating the number of outages and make a decision as to whether to open the shelter and, if so, when," McPherson said. 

If the shelter is opened, the town gym would likely be the location, McPherson said, as in past weather emergencies. He also said that if the senior center has power Saturday it could be designated a warming center. 

Postponements and cancellations

In addition to Madison Public Schools being cancelled Friday, Temple Beth Tikvah Nursery School is closed, along with Montessori School in Madison, Madison School for Young Children, Shoreline Christian School, and The Country School. 

  • All commercial airline traffic at Bradley International Airport will be suspended as of 1:30 p.m. Friday and is not expected to resume until mid-to-late morning on Saturday.  The airport will remain open as long as airport personnel are not in harm's way. Passengers are encouraged to contact their specific airline for more details about the next scheduled flights. Phone lines are jammed right now so the best way to get information about a flight is through the airline's website, Facebook or Twitter pages. 
  • From Scott G: "The Jellybeanery and Dial M for movies will be closed today."
  • The Madison Starbucks is closing at noon, reports Cathy Mails from Facebook. Madison Starbucks confirmed that is the case.
  • Nancy Kahrimanis says at Temple Beth Tikvah Shabbat Services are CANCELED tonight, Friday February 8, 2013. Torah Study is CANCELED tomorrow morning, Saturday February 9, 2013. "In light of the falling snow and the fact that the State of Connecticut Department Of Emergency Services and Public Protection has confirmed blizzard warnings in effect for the entire state until midday tomorrow, we have closed the temple for the day. The DESPP is describing this as a “potentially historic winter storm.” Please stay safe & warm as you celebrate Shabbat at home."
  • Beth Crowley, the head librarian at Scranton Memorial Library made this announcement on Facebook: "Scranton Memorial Library will be closing at noon today and will be closed all day Saturday. We anticipate being able to open at 1:00 pm on Sunday as usual. Items due Friday and Saturday will not accumulate late fees. As of now, the Winter Wonderball will be held as planned Saturday night. Stay Safe Everyone!"
  • A benefit for Madison Hose Co. No. 1 firefighter Cliff McNeely has been changed to Sunday, Feb. 10th, said his daughter, Abby Sawicki: POSTPONED: due to the incoming weather the benefit dinner for fire fighter Cliff McNeely has been changed to Sunday Feb 10th. Cliff has spent the last 30+ years keeping the community safe, and keeping everyone off the roads will do just that. Thank you for understanding and the support.
  • The Madison Penguin Plunge has also been postponed: "The Madison Penguin Plunge has been postponed until Sunday, March 3rd due to the impending snow storm. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you in advance for your understanding." The good news about that, is that the postponement gives you more time to donate. You can do that on the Madison Penguin Plunge webpage. 
  • Saturday's Bauer Series program tomorrow on Connecticut's Reptiles and Amphibians that was to be held at St. Andrews Church has canceled, Friends of Hammonasset has announced. The next program will be Saturday, February 16th 10:00am at St. Andrews Church.  Russ Miller from the Meigs Point Nature will give a presentation on Tropical and Exotic pets. 

If you have additional information about postponements or cancellations, you can post them in the comment section of this article. If you have pictures of your neighborhood, please share them with us! 

Sadly No February 08, 2013 at 03:32 PM
So McPherson has a reason not to show up to work! He s suppose to stay off the roads
Pem McNerney (Editor) February 08, 2013 at 04:17 PM
He's at work, while you are spending your time posting misleading information on a story that is intended to be useful for Madison residents. So, you know what ... save the gratuitous moaning and groaning for another forum another time. If you have something useful to contribute you are welcome to do that. Thanks.
Pem McNerney (Editor) February 08, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Please limit your comments here to information that is of use to people, such as cancellations, postponements and other weather emergency related items.
M. C. February 09, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Does anyone know when the plows will start back up again? Haven't seen one in quite a while.
katherine February 09, 2013 at 06:04 PM
Unfortunately, the WINTER WONDER BALL to benefit the Scranton Memorial Library has been cancelled for tonight.
Pem McNerney (Editor) February 10, 2013 at 12:09 AM
Stop & Shop is open tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
stu gotz February 10, 2013 at 09:16 AM
million dollar question?????

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