MERIDEN — On the tail end of what has been an unseasonably warm winter, Connecticut is predicted to experience its first major nor’easter of the season, with potential power outages and up to five inches of snow in the forecast, depending on where you are in the state.
According to weather experts, however, New Haven County, and the greater Meriden area in particular, are expected to experience mild winds and a wintry mix of rain, snow and sleet over a three-day period beginning on Monday night.
Western Connecticut State University chief meteorologist Gary Lessor said Meriden and surrounding towns can anticipate between two and five inches of snow starting Tuesday and stretching into Wednesday, with an additional one to three inches of rainfall kicking off Monday night.
Wind gusts will range between 35 and 45 miles per hour, with peak winds arriving Tuesday night and Wednesday, Lessor said. Yet, he stressed winds, in his view, are unlikely to cause widespread outages because tree branches will not be weighed down thanks to a combination of relatively light snowfall and a lack of foliage. Lessor added 45 mile an hour winds are typically not forceful enough to produce massive power blackouts with or without snowfall.
“Power outages are possible, but Meriden is not really a prime area for outages because you're not going to have a lot of heavy wet snow on trees and branches,” Lessor said. “The winds are not high enough. We get 45 mile an hour winds on a regular basis.” If 45-mile-per-hour winds poses a threat, “we’d lose power all the time.”
Meriden announced a parking ban on city streets starting at 11:59 p.m. Monday evening. Wallingford issued a parking ban beginning at 7 a.m. Tuesday through 5 a.m. on Wednesday.
In preparation for possible outages Tuesday, Eversource spokeswoman Jamie Ratliff said the company is importing resourses from out-of-state and began gearing up to deploy crews to address downed wires as far back as last week.
“We have brought in extra resources, and we are staging crews all across the state in preparation for the storm so that as the storm hits, they can just react quickly as safely as they possibly can to any damages to the electric system,” Ratliff said.
Wallingford is also mobilizing response teams should the town experience widespread or sporadic outages to its municipally-owned power grid in the wake of Tuesday night winds.
Wallingford Electric Department General Manager Tony Buccheri said the town is also prepared to reach out for mutual aid from the Northeast Public Power Association — an alliance of over 70 locally-based power grids — in a worst-case scenario weather event.
“We schedule our our crews to work around the clock should the event occur, Buccheri said. “In the event we need additional resources, we can get resources through the Northeast Public Power Association to support restoration as well.”
“We plan for the worst and hope for the best,” he added.
Though five inches of snowfall could land in and around Meriden, Lessor said midweek temperatures will be high enough to facilitate almost immediate melting in the region, even if precipitation stretches into early Wednesday.
“There could be a snow shower flurry in the morning, but we’ll also be seeing temperatures near 40, so it will start the melting process,” Lessor said.
Out of an abundance of caution, Eversource encouraged customers to prepare “storm kits” complete with food, water, batteries and flashlights while also keeping eyes open for downed wires and utility poles.
“Eversource urges customers to always stay clear of downed wires, report them immediately to 911 and report any outage online,” the company said.