Greenwich declares snow emergency for Thursday, schools will be closed on Friday

FI-snow-flakeUPDATED THURSDAY 8:50 P.M. — As the storm begins to hit, Greenwich Public Schools will be closed on Friday due to the weather. Snow is expected to fall throughout the night into the day and temperatures could drop dangerously low.

Greenwich has declared a snow emergency effective at 6 p.m. on Thursday as near-blizzard conditions are expected in what could be the worst storm yet this season, lasting from Thursday into Friday, Jan. 2-3, according to a winter storm warning issued New Year’s Day by the National Weather Service.

Six to 10 inches of snow could fall in the area on the first two days after most school vacations end.  Current forecasts have Greenwich receiving as much as eight inches of snow. But the severe weather is not expected to arrive until later in the day on Thursday so all Greenwich’s public schools are opening as scheduled. However the possibility exists of an early dismissal and, given the current forecast, the status of school on Friday is very much in doubt. Both Greenwich Academy and Brunswick School are already scheduled to remain on their holiday recesses through the weekend so the storm will have no impact on classes there. Parents and students are urged to stay tuned for updates.

Hersam Acorn Radio will be providing live coverage of the storm, from area closings, traffic, area road conditions and news from all over southwestern Connecticut (and some northern Westchester County). The next broadcast is scheduled for 5 a.m. on Friday for early morning coverage of school closings, traffic and more Friday, Jan. 3. You can tune in at Greenwich-post.com on your computer, smartphone or tablet.

Follow Hersam Acorn Radio on Twitter or Facebook for scheduling updates. There will also be updates at Twitter.com/greenwichpost throughout the day.

The worst of the storm, which the weather service said could be “near blizzard conditions,” are forecast for Thursday evening into Friday morning.

Snow and strong winds are expected to start Thursday, according to the weather service.

This winter storm warning replaces the winter storm watch issued on New Year’s Eve. The warning goes into effect at 4 a.m Thursday morning through 1 p.m. Friday afternoon for all of southwestern Connecticut and surrounding areas.

“One to two inches are forecast through the Thursday morning rush hour, followed by a lull,” according to the service. “The most significant period of snow will redevelop by Thursday evening and continue into Friday morning.”

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is urging residents to take it slow and avoid travel during the height of the storm Thursday night and has directed the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS), the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) to coordinate with 2-1-1 and Connecticut’s network of shelters to ensure that the state’s most vulnerable people are protected from the severe cold weather.

“I am asking residents to use caution as they head out for their Thursday and Friday commutes and give yourself some extra time to get to your destination,” said Mr. Malloy in a statement on Wednesday night. “I am also asking that you avoid travel during the height of the storm Thursday night. We are also taking steps to make sure that we can take care of those in need of shelter. I urge anyone in need of shelter to call 2-1-1 and encourage local communities to consider opening warming centers or other facilities to help people in need.

“State emergency management officials are preparing for the potential impacts of this severe weather and continue to provide me with regular updates.”

Some area cities, such as Bridgeport, have already declared snow emergencies as has Greenwich now. Under a snow emergency vehicles cannot be parked in designated roadways in order to allow for clear passage of plows and emergency vehicles. Those areas are clearly marked. The Greenwich Police Department will be enforcing the emergency condition by ticketing offenders.

Blizzard warnings have been issued, across the sound, for all of Long Island.

Snow accumulations could total six to 10 inches in Greenwich and the area.

The forecast also calls for bitter-cold temperatures and winds from 15 to 25 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph in southwestern Connecticut. The wind chill could be from 5 to 15 below zero starting late Thursday into Friday.

The combination of a light, dry snow and windy conditions could make driving conditions worse. Visibilities, according to the weather service, could be down to one-quarter to a half mile at times.

Temperatures are expected to remain below freezing until Sunday. Friday is going to be the coldest day in a while, with a high of 18 and low of 2, and forecasters say it will feel even colder with the wind chill.

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