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Freezing Rain Could Slicken Monday Morning Commute [Updated]

Refer to this continuously updated post as blizzard cleanup begins.

 

Updated, 1:31 p.m.

The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting a period of freezing rain passing over southern Connecticut, including Wilton and northern Fairfield County, beginning early Monday morning.

Though the ice and snowfall from this front will not be substantial, current road conditions and areas of fog predicted to set in have prompted the NWS to issue a Hazardous Weather Outlook for Monday morning.

“Ice accumulations are expected to be minimal, only a couple hundredths of an inch,” according to the NWS, “However, this, combined with the recent heavy snowfall could result in slick travel conditions during the morning commute.”

As of the most recent forecasts, there is a 30 percent chance of freezing rain after 3 a.m. Monday, increasing to 90 percent by 9 a.m. Temperatures will warm throughout the day but periods of rain and freezing rain are expected through Monday evening.

With more precipitation on the way, officials are urging residents to clear roofs, drainage areas and exhaust vents on Sunday before conditions make this more necessary and more difficult.

Updated, 12:16 p.m.

For the latest on Metro-North, the status of USPS mail delivery and more, click here: http://patch.com/A-1Kfn

Updated, 9:06 a.m.

Wilton Library will be open on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Updated, Feb. 10, 8:16 a.m.

The following message was posted on Wilton's town Web site:

The Wilton Emergency Operations Center has gone to partial staffing and will close around noon today. Emergency operations will be monitored and managed by Wilton's emergency response agencies.

Updated, 3:27 p.m.

Malloy is lifting the travel ban at 4 p.m. on Saturday, but still urges residents to stay off of the roads: http://patch.com/A-1Kfn

Updated, 12:01 p.m.

Gov. Malloy said during a press conference Saturday that snow cleanup could take "a number of days": http://patch.com/A-1Kfn

Updated, 10:43 a.m.

Wilton Library announced that it will be closed on Saturday until further notice: "Please check back with us at 1 p.m. to see if we are able to open today (www.wiltonlibrary.org or 203-762-3950). Please note that this evening's New Perspectives Film is canceled and will be rescheduled."

To see what other businesses in Wilton are open or closed on Saturday, click here: http://patch.com/A-1KQd

Updated, 9:19 a.m.

The following message has been posted on Wilton's town Web site:

Department of Public Works crews have been plowing all night. 90% of all roads have been plowed at least once. However, driving conditions are hazardous and citizens should remain off the roads until the Governor lifts the current ban on vehicular traffic on all Connecticut roads. Department of Public Works crews will continue to work throughout the day to clear remaining roads.

Updated, Feb. 9, 6:24 a.m.

Here is Wilton's weather forecast, according to the National Weather Service:

  • Saturday Morning: Snow showers likely with areas of blowing snow before 9am, then a slight chance of snow showers between 9am and noon. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 31. Blustery, with a northwest wind 18 to 23 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
  • Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 9. Northwest wind 5 to 13 mph.
  • Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 34. North wind around 6 mph becoming west in the afternoon.
  • Sunday Night: A chance of snow after midnight. Increasing clouds, with a low around 23. Light and variable wind. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Do you have any great snow pics to share with us? If so, click on the "Upload Photos and Videos" button above!

Updated, 6 p.m.

Chief Paul Milositz, Wilton's emergency management director, told Patch Friday evening that the town's Emergency Operations Center is now open and additional police and fire personnel are on duty overnight to respond to any emergencies as the blizzard approaches.

Milositz said that he recently had a conference call with Gov. Malloy and the state's Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security where officials were told the the brunt of storm would be hitting the area within the next hour and remain for the next 10-12 hours.

Milositz stongly advised residents to report any power outages to CL&P by calling 1-800-286-2000.

"It's the critical first step," he said. "The town can't help if the outage isn't reported."

Town shelters have not yet been opened, he added, but if needed, they will openedSaturday morning. Milositz advised residents to bundle and stay warm as possible if they lose power overnight and call 911 if there is an emergency.

Between three and four car accidents have been reported in Wilton on Friday, he added, but all were minor.

"Wilton residents have been doing a good job at heeding local and state warnings," he said. "They are doing the right thing."

 

Updated, 5:44 p.m.

CL&P is reporting that only one Wilton customer is currently without power as of 5:16 p.m. To see how other towns in lower Fairfield County are faring, click here: http://patch.com/A-1Kfn

Updated, 5:11 p.m.

We're checking out Wilton Emergency Management's Facebook page for blizzard updates and you should too!

Updated, 2:52 p.m.

Below is the latest forecast for Wilton by the National Weather Service:

  • Friday Afternoon: Snow. High near 35. Breezy, with a northeast wind around 21 mph, with gusts as high as 41 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.
  • Friday Night: The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 23. Blustery, with a north wind 23 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 47 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 8 to 12 inches possible.
  • Saturday: Snow likely, mainly before noon. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 29. Blustery, with a north wind 21 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 46 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
  • Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 9. Wind chill values as low as -4. Northwest wind 10 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

Updated, 11:22 a.m.

Gov. Malloy announced that he will declare a state of emergency to prepare for the blizzard and that closures of limited access highways across the state could occur as soon as noon Friday: http://patch.com/A-1Kfn

Updated, 9:56 a.m.

To find out or report what businesses will be open or closed on Friday and throughout the weekend, click on the following link: http://patch.com/A-1KQd

Updated, 9:15 a.m.

If you'd like to share snowy pics from your neighborhood, click on the "Upload Photos and Videos" button to the right or by going to Wilton Patch's Pics and Clips gallery!

Updated, 8:13 a.m.

Wilton Library will be closed on Friday due to the weather, according to its Web site.

Updated, 7:06 a.m.

The following is the latest forecast from the National Weather Service:

  • Friday: Snow. High near 34. Breezy, with a northeast wind 11 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 41 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.
  • Friday Night: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 22. Blustery, with a northeast wind around 24 mph, with gusts as high as 47 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 7 to 11 inches possible.
  • Saturday: Snow likely, mainly before noon. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 29. Blustery, with a north wind 20 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 45 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
  • Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 9. Wind chill values as low as -4. Northwest wind 10 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.
  • Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 33. Northwest wind 6 to 9 mph.

Updated, Feb. 8, 5:41 a.m.

According its Web site, Wilton Public Schools and offices will be closed on Friday due to the impending weather.

Updated 10:45 p.m.

For updated information on travel, outages and accidents that affect wide swaths of Fairfield County in the storm's wake, click on this link: http://patch.com/A-1Kfn

Updated, 5:34 p.m.

Click on the following link for blizzard survival tips from United Way of Connecticut's 211: http://patch.com/A-1JVV

Updated, 4:45 p.m.

The National Weather Service has placed Wilton—and the rest of the state— under a Blizzard Warning from 6 a.m. Friday to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Here's a breakdown of what the warning means:

  • Hazard types: heavy snow and strong winds
  • Accumulations: Snow accumulations of 18 to 24 inches
  • Winds: Northeast 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 45 mph
  • Temperatures: Falling into the low 20s Friday night
  • Visibilites: A quarter of a mile or less at times.
  • Timing: The strongest winds and heaviest snow will occur Friday evening into Saturday morning. 
  • Impacts: Heavy snow and winds will make for dangerous driving conditions with visibilities near zero in white-out condictions. In addition, some tree limbs will be downed, causing scattered power outages.
  • Precautionary/preparedness: a blizzard warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely, leading to whiteout conditions that will make travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel. If oyu must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.

Updated, 2:48 p.m.

Check what some Wilton residents are doing (or not doing) to prepare for this weekend's snowstorm: http://patch.com/A-1JvY

Updated, 1:06 p.m.

First Selectman Bill Brennan told Patch on Thursday that town officials are "well aware that the forecast is calling for 10-18 inches of snow" and that they are taking the necessary precautions to be prepared.

He said that all necessary personnel, including the Public Works Department and the Emergency Management team, have been advised to be on alert and a weekend schedule is already in place to clear town roads and respond to emergencies. All department vehicles are "gassed up and ready to go" and since the winter has been light so far, Brennan said, the town's inventory of sand and salt is high.

Brennan said that, if necessary, Wilton's Emergency Operations Center will be ready to open. He added that he is scheduled to meet with emergency personnel again this afternoon to make further preparations.

Brennan urged residents that "now is the time" to prepare for the storm by making sure enough food, water, flashlights and other essential materials are on hand. He warned that the high winds from this weekend's storm, according to the forecast, do have the potential to affect power lines.

Original Story

After a few dustings of powdery snow, it appears the first real snowstorm of the season may finally be upon lower Fairfield County. And residents probably should take a cue from Connecticut Light & Power which has issued a winter storm warning to local municipalities.

With sleet and heavy snow whipped by winds of 50 mph or more expected to begin Friday, Feb. 8, near blizzard-like conditions are predicted for southwestern Connecticut.

According to an alert from Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei, CL&P informed local officials:

"CL&P's operational status is currently in WARNING mode. This means we are making appropriate notifications to stakeholders, implementing the appropriate preparedness procedures based on anticipated weather, and placing resources into standby mode.

  • CL&P is prepared to respond to a winter storm that may bring between 18-24 inches of heavy, wet snow to Connecticut, beginning Friday between 2 and 4 a.m. The heaviest period of snowfall is expected after midnight Friday into Saturday morning.
  • High winds will accompany the snow, with gusts up to 50 mph. Wind gusts in coastal and eastern areas of the state may reach 60 mph.
  • This is likely to be a regional event, having the greatest impact in coastal areas of all Northeastern states."

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Here is the winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service issued early Thursday morning with a winter storm watch in effect from Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon.

  • Hazard types...heavy snow and sleet.
  • Accumulations...snow accumulation of 12 to 16 inches.
  • Winds...north 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 55 mph.
  • Temperatures...in the upper 20s.
  • Visibilities...one half mile or less at times.
  • Impacts...heavy snow will make for dangerous driving conditions. In addition, the heavy snow and strong winds could result in near blizzard conditions...bring down some tree limbs and cause scattered power outages.
  • Precautionary/preparedness actions... A winter storm watch means there is a potential for significant snow, sleet or ice accumulations that may impact travel.

Here's the NWS forecast:

  • Thursday: Cloudy, with a high near 32. Northeast wind around 6 mph becoming east in the morning.
  • Thursday night: Snow likely, mainly after 3am. Cloudy, with a low around 24. East wind 6 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
  • Friday: Snow before 3pm, then rain. The rain and snow could be heavy at times. High near 37. East wind 8 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
  • Friday Night: Rain and snow, becoming all snow after 9pm. The rain and snow could be heavy at times. Low around 22. Blustery, with a north wind 18 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 55 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 7 to 11 inches possible.
  • Saturday: Snow likely with areas of blowing snow before noon, then a slight chance of snow between noon and 3pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 30. Blustery, with a north wind 21 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 48 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
  • Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 10.
  • Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 34.
  • Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 21.
  • Monday: A chance of rain and snow. Cloudy, with a high near 44. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
  • Monday Night: A chance of rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

CL&P also urging residents to do their own preparations and recommendation view their "Shopping for a Storm Kit" video on YouTube, which is posted above and highlights the contents of a storm kit, including:

  • Flashlights with spare batteries
  • A battery-operated radio or TV
  • First-aid kit and medications
  • Canned, freeze-dried or dehydrated foods
  • A manual can opener
  • Bottled water
  • Baby or pet supplies (if needed)
  • Important phone numbers

Customers who are dependent on electricity for critical medical needs are urged to make preparations now to switch to a backup source or move to an alternate location if necessary.

Elyse February 07, 2013 at 05:18 PM
While having an emergency kit at home is great, you should have one in the car as well. http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/safety/motorist/winterdriving/survival-kit.htm has a 'coffee can' emergency kit that every car should have in the winter. Plus I can't count how many people I see in elevators during snowstorms who leave their coats at home because they go from 'garage to garage'. If you get stuck on the road, being dressed in a blouse, skirt and heels will not be safe. ALways carry a blanket (like a fleece throw) in the car. A cellphone is nice to call for help, but it won't keep you warm. It's also wise to keep at least one bottle of water and a power bar/candy bar. Plus if you get in an accident and want to stay warm, this stuff is handy as well. And never let you car's gas go low because the last thing you want is to run out of gas on a long stretch of road when it's 20 degrees outside.
Cliff Cuming February 07, 2013 at 07:06 PM
As the folks in Buffalo say....15 inches is a light dusting
EMR February 08, 2013 at 03:29 AM
Monopoly, playing cards and a flashlight. power will be back on sunday.

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