Malloy calls storm ‘record breaking’, travel ban will end at 4

DSC_7293UPDATED SATURDAY 3:20 P.M. — The travel ban put in place throughout Connecticut after the impact of the blizzard’s heavy snowfall will end at 4 p.m. on Saturday according to Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Mr. Malloy said that drivers should still be careful and not go out onto the roads unless necessary.

“While we are lifting the ban on travel this afternoon at 4 p.m., I still want to urge residents to stay off the roads if at all possible,” Mr. Malloy said.  “Crews are out clearing roadways as we speak, but the fact is we are going to feel the impact of this storm for some time.  The longer we can keep traffic out of town centers and off of our highways, the more effective our recovery effort will be. “

 According to unofficial figures from www.weather.gov that were released Saturday  morning, Greenwich received approximately 15.5 inches of snow, putting the town on the lower end of the spectrum of snowfall. Figures have Bridgeport being socked with 30 inches of snow with Shelton and Stratford also getting more than two feet. Milford appears to have gotten it worst in Connecticut, receiving approximately 38 inches of snow. So far Greenwich has not needed to open any emergency shelters, but the town’s Emergency Operations Center remains open.

Metro North service remains suspended and Amtrak is not running trains on its New York-Boston line as of now. That will likely remain in effect throughout Saturday. CT Transit buses have been suspended since Friday afternoon.

Mr. Malloy briefed the press Saturday morning and called the storm “record breaking” while noting that some parts of Connecticut received as much as 38 inches of snow on the ground. Because of that, the governor is continuing to urge people to stay in their homes and off the roads so plows and work crews can clear them and emergency vehicles can get through. Mr. Malloy said there have been problems with cars stuck on the roads, stranding drivers and the state does not want to see that added to. Mr. Malloy ordered the travel ban Saturday morning, saying it’s “essential that travel be limited to emergency personnel.” He added that this will help work in clearing the roads be accomplished much more rapidly and “get back to normal much more rapidly then if the roads are clogged with traffic.” He admitted that cleanup is expected to take days to complete.

“I would expect we would keep the travel ban in place through today,” Mr. Malloy said Saturday morning. “Again, the purpose is to encourage people to stay home and stay off the roads.”

Despite the snow stopping, the blizzard warning remains in place throughout the state. Greenwich remains in a state of snow emergency as well and cars parked in “snow emergency” zones must be moved for they are subject to ticketing and immediate towing.

“Right now our main priority is to clear roads,” Mr. Malloy said. “We have crews throughout the state working on state roads. Municipal governments are working on municipal roads as well.”

Mr. Malloy said he had been in contact with municipal leaders on Saturday morning and said state assistance would be available as soon as possible to individual communities. Work has to be completed on state roads first, though. Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei is expected to have an update today on conditions in town and Mr. Malloy will have another briefing at 6 p.m. on Saturday night.

According to Mr. Malloy, the state police have responded to approximately 1,600 calls within the last 24 hours. There are 270 National Guard members on duty right now with “a few hundred more” coming into armories around the state. Mr. Malloy said they would be assigned tasks for both the state and municipal governments in Connecticut. At the press briefing he said he has signed an executive order allowing for non-essential calls for ambulances to be handled at the discretion of the local agencies, in this case Greenwich Emergency Medical Services and the 911 dispatch for the Greenwich Police Department.

“If it’s not an essential call and the area can’t be reached, then they can put that off,” Mr. Malloy said. “On the other hand, with respect to other calls they can use 4×4 vehicles to respond when they know ambulances can’t respond.”

Mr. Malloy said as of 11 a.m. on Saturday, there were 39,000 customers without power mostly in the Southeastern part of the state. Greenwich has been spared major outages so far, which is a big change from the last major snowstorm to hit the area, the 2011 Halloween storm, where residents were left without service for days.  Mr. Malloy urged residents to clear off areas where snow is blocking fire hydrants in front of their homes and for their individual homes make sure and clear off vents to avoid any potential backup of dangerous CO into the house. He also reminded residents throughout the state that if they are using generators they have to be ventilated outside of the home and not in garages to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

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