More than a foot of snow possible by Thursday morning

More than a foot of snow possible by Thursday morning

A slow-developing winter storm moved through the Meriden area Wednesday afternoon and evening, dumping 2 to 3 inches of snow per hour, according to meteorologists.

After light snow fell throughout the morning on Wednesday, heavier snow began to fall in early afternoon. Gary Lessor, meteorologist with the Weather Center at Western Connecticut State University, said snow was expected to fall at rates of up to 2 to 3 inches per hour through late Wednesday.

As of 6:30 pm, Southington had accumulated more than 6 inches of snow, while Wallingford had about 5 inches. By 9 p.m., about 10 inches had fallen in the Central Connecticut area. 

At 9 p.m., Eversource reported more than 100,000 outages in the state, including about 5,600 in Cheshire. About 300 outages were reported in Meriden as of 9 p.m. and about 200 in Southington.   

Temperatures hovered in the mid-30s throughout the morning, giving roadways warmth to keep the initial snow from sticking, Lessor said. Because pavement is warmed by solar radiation, snow accumulated more rapidly on grassy areas.

Snowfall was expected to end at about midnight, Lessor said. Up to 14 inches was expected to accumulate in central Connecticut.

Sustained winds were about 15 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Gusts were expected to peak at 30 mph.

The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for New Haven and Hartford Counties until early Thursday.

“Travel will be very difficult to impossible, including during the evening commute,” the National Weather Service said in a statement. “Be prepared for significant reductions in visibility at times.”

Public schools in Meriden, Wallingford, Southington and Cheshire were closed Wednesday. Parking bans were also issued.

Police in Meriden, Wallingford, Southington and Cheshire reported a quiet morning and afternoon on the roads. Meriden police said they had one minor accident, and they said added they would have extra officers working to enforce the parking ban.

Just before 4 p.m., one car rolled over in the area of River Road by Oregon Road in Meriden. Minor injuries were reported and the road was blocked to traffic as emergency crews responded. 

In Cheshire, Bradley Mountain Road was closed around 6 p.m., after several vehicles called for assistance after getting stuck on the hill. The road was closed from Candee Road to South Brooksvale Road.

Meriden Public Works Director Bob Bass and Wallingford Foreman Steven Palermo said the storm kept workers busy.

“We will continue on until it’s over,” Palermo said.

Moderate traffic delays were reported on area highways, including Interstate 91 and Interstate 691, according to the state Department of Transportation.

State police spokeswoman Kelly Grant said authorities would be monitoring the storm overnight, adding troopers as needed, Grant said.

State police Sgt. Eric Haglund reported that as of Wednesday evening, state troopers had responded to over 500 calls for service, five of which were accidents with injuries. About 100 other calls were for accidents with no reported injuries.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center at 11 a.m. to monitor the storm’s conditions.

“We continue to monitor this weather pattern very closely and will have essential personnel at the state’s Emergency Operations Center to better coordinate rapid response to any problems that may arise,” Malloy said at a 6 p.m. news conference.  “We are urging residents to plan ahead and exercise caution if they need to travel.”

Malloy asked non-essential second-shift employees not to report to work Wednesday evening.

Just before 6 p.m, Malloy announced a ban on tractor-trailers and tandem trailers on limited access highways in the state. The ban was
only for trucks, but Malloy strongly encouraged all vehicles to stay off the highway. 

"Anything but emergency traffic should now get off the highways," Malloy said.

Malloy expected the state to be open normally today.

Bradley International Airport remained open throughout the day, but 55 percent of the arriving and departing flights were canceled.

“Passengers who are scheduled to travel (Thursday) are advised to check with their airline on their individual flight itineraries and any potential rebooking options before heading to the airport,” spokeswoman Alisa Sisic said in a statement. “Several airlines are issuing travel waivers.”

The state Department of Transportation had 634 plow trucks and 200 private contractors working to clear roads. Malloy urged drivers to stay clear of snow plows.

Stefanie Arcangelo, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, advised caution when clearing snow from surfaces.

Metro-North operated with a 25 percent reduction in service, switching to an hourly schedule around 8 p.m. Bus service was also reduced, depending on the region.
Twitter: @BryanLipiner

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