Madison Public Schools Closed Friday; Town, CL&P Preparing For Winter Storm

Ready for the storm? Here are some tips from the Red Cross on how to do that, along with cancellations and closings, and the latest weather report.


Madison Public Schools are closed Friday, due to the blizzard that is forecast. 

Madison First Selectman Fillmore McPherson issued the following statement Thursday afternoon: 

As you may have heard, we are bracing for a major winter storm that could drop one to two feet of snow in Madison. Wind gusts could also reach 70 miles per hour, which is similar to last week’s wind storm. The light snow should start Friday morning and gradually become heavier during the day and continue into Saturday. 

At best, we can foresee a lot of snow on the roads that will probably not be cleared until sometime Sunday. Our Town crews are poised to begin plowing, but this much snow will take a while to clear. At worst, the combination of ice, snow and wind can cause power outages similar to those we experienced with Irene and Sandy. With that in mind, please take note of the following: 
Please don’t park your vehicles in the street as that will interfere with plowing. 
Fill your vehicles and generators gas tanks now. 

Make sure you have several day’s supply of food, water, prescription drugs, and any special needs such as oxygen. 

Neighbors should please check on neighbors to make sure everyone is fairing well. 

If you are not used to heavy exercise, please don’t overdo the snow shoveling. Protect your back and your heart. 

If you lose power, call CL&P at 1-800-286-2000. Don’t skip this just because your neighbor called. CL&P needs to know about every house. That’s 1-800-286-2000. 

Any generator or automobile should be run well away from the house where the exhaust and carbon monoxide cannot come back into the house. 

Finally, if you have not done so earlier, please register your cell phone at ctalert.govso you can continue to receive these emergency calls if you lose power.

That’s c t a l e r t. gov.

Stay safe, and good evening. 

McPherson issued the statement after meeting with the town's emergency management team Thursday afternoon.

"It looks like it will be a big snowstorm. There is always the possibility of some power outages, so we will be reviewing our preparation for that."

McPherson also met with CL&P Wednesday afternoon. Among other topics, they discussed the company's communication with the town during a recent windstorm that knocked out power to hundreds of households in Madison. McPherson said they discussed communication protocols and ways to improve communication between the town and the company.

Setting priorities, making sure crews are working together effectively

"We reiterated the policy that the number one priority for them is any 911 activity, and the number two priority is clearing any areas in town that are inaccessible," McPherson said. The goal is to make sure that CL&P crews and town public works and emergency crews can work together to get the work done in a way that is safe and timely, he said

At CL&P and United Illuminating, the state's two major utilities, are gearing up for the storm. Spokesmen at both companies said the major concern is the high winds the storm is expected to bring - gusts of up to 60 MPH - and the possibility that warm air pushing up from the south could mean a heavy, wetter snow in some regions.

"We've already held a few internal meetings and storm-team calls and we're reaching out to external resources," said Micheal West, UI's spokesman. "All of our UI crews will be available" throughout the weekend, he added.

School, events being postponed in anticipation of storm

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

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. 

CL&P issues "all hands on deck" alert

Mitch Gross, CL&P's spokesman said his utility has issued an "all hands on deck" alert to its workers, is holding meetings throughout the today with workers and expect to have "hundreds and hundreds" of workers on line and tree crews on duty to deal with outages that could occur this weekend.

Gross, however, cautioned that crews will not be able to restore power during the storm or when the winds are high because of the dangers that could create.

"Our line workers and tree workers will be out there as long as it's safe," he added.

CL&P also asks customers to prepare

But, he said, the utility is also urging its customers to be ready for the storm. CL&P has storm preparedness tips on its website, as does the American Red Cross. You can view a PDF of the Red Cross's storm tips, which are posted with this story.

The National Weather Service says a blizzard watch has been issued from Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon for coastal portions of southeast Connecticut. Heavy snow, sleet and damaging winds are expected.

Snow accumulations could total 18 to 24 inches in some areas. North winds of 25 to 35 mph are expected, along with gusts of up to 60 mph. Temperatures will be around 30 degrees, and ice is expected along with the snow. 

Strongest winds, heaviest snow will be Friday night into Saturday

The NWS says the strongest winds and heaviest snow will be Friday night into Saturday morming, making driving dangerous. "The heavy snow and strong winds will result in blizzard conditions, bringing down some tree limbs and causing scattered outages," the NWS says. "A blizzard watch means there is a potential for falling and/or blowing snow with strong winds and extremely poor visibilities. This can lead to whiteout conditions and make travel very dangerous." 

In addition to a blizzard warning that is in effect until 1 p.m. Saturday, there is a coastal flood advisory from 6 p.m. Friday until midnight Friday. Tidal departures are expected to be two to four feet above astronomical high tides, the NWS says.

Metro-North says it is preparing for the storm. Here is a link to some information from Metro-North on how it prepares.

Here are some winter storm tips from AT&T: 

(1)    USE TXT MSGING:  During an emergency situation, text messages go through quicker than voice calls because they require less system resources.

(2)    Program Emergency Numbers: Make sure all your emergency numbers, including family members, the hospital, police and fire station, are in your phone.

(3)    Limit non-emergency calls: Keeping calls to a minimum will conserve battery power and free up wireless networks for emergencies,

(4)    Charge your wireless devices:  Make sure all of your devices are charged before the storm arrives.  Car chargers can be especially helpful to ensure you have back-up power.

(5)    Protect your device from the elements: Cold weather can cause your battery to drain faster. Don't exposure your device to cold for any extended period of time – don't leave it in your car overnight or take it outside with you shoveling or sledding.

(6)  Become an amateur Storm Tracker! Use weather apps, like AccuWeather, The Weather Channel or Weatherbug  to track the storm

Metro-North changes service in anticipation of storm

The predicted severity of the winter storm on Friday, February 8 will require Metro-North to change its scheduled service. These changes are in anticipation of providing the best service to ensure your safety.

There will be extra trains during the early afternoon to help customers return home.

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. For more details, visit http://bit.ly/S5Cxrf

Here is the weather forcast as of 5:30 a.m. from the National Weather Service:

  • Friday: Snow. High near 33. Breezy, with a northeast wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 16 to 21 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 46 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.
  • Friday night: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 22. Windy, with a northeast wind 28 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 55 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 10 to 14 inches possible.
  • Saturday: Snow, mainly before noon. High near 26. Blustery, with a north wind 23 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 48 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.
  • Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming clear, with a low around 8. Wind chill values as low as -5. Blustery, with a north wind 10 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph.
  • Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 31. Northwest wind 7 to 11 mph.
  • Sunday Night: A slight chance of snow showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 18. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
  • Monday: A chance of snow showers before noon, then rain and snow showers likely between noon and 1pm, then rain showers likely after 1pm. Cloudy, with a high near 41. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
  • Monday Night: A chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
  • Tuesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 43.
  • Tuesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 25.
  • Wednesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 40.
  • Wednesday Night: A chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 25. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
  • Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 39.

Matt February 08, 2013 at 07:38 PM
Perhaps. I don't need a shelter, it isn't my personal concern. But the question you asked above, in my opinion, should be something you already had the answer to from town hall and something you could therefore publicize for them. People need that kind of information to plan what they're going to do after the storm. If the town isn't planning ahead, the citizens can't plan ahead either. Reference BL Davis's comment about the town not even thinking about it until this morning. Having meetings is wonderful. They have lots of meetings. But saying "We're having meetings" doesn't help the citizens plan ahead. Complete advance planning combined with complete advance communication is what helps the citizens plan and prepare. If you and BL Davis are asking those questions, then it would appear that planning and communication are incomplete.
Pem McNerney February 08, 2013 at 07:42 PM
From First Selectman Fillmore McPherson: "At the moment there is no need for shelters. 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." If the shelter is opened, the town gym would likely be the location. If the senior center has power tomorrow it could be designated a warming center, as you already mentioned, Barbara. It does not yet have a generator and I think that's being considered for a purchase by the town in an upcoming budget cycle.
Die Harder February 08, 2013 at 09:26 PM
The problem is,is that there are no plans in place before the storm. There is no heads up as to where o go after the storm if I have no power. Its difficult to go online when the phones, internet and power are out to find out what the town finally decided on at the last minute
Helen February 09, 2013 at 02:29 PM
you need to embrace the fact that your New Englanders and suck it up and deal with it. I was 9 in the blizzard of 78 my Dad did not come home from work for a week as he work as an electrician at Yale New Haven Hospital and they needed him. We had no power my dad had chopped wood before he left and we had grocery shopped we were prepared. There was no communication from the town or the power company it was probably 3 days at least before our street was plowed. I walk ed with my friend and my sled though the cornfield to the little grocery store near by to pick up a few things at the end of the week because the plow only came once. this is new England weather and you need to be prepared and relie on yourselves. I am so tried of everyone whining about everything.. You all complain but no one ran against McPherson
DB February 14, 2013 at 09:32 PM
Why don't you brave souls post who you are instead of hiding behind your comments.


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