Many students have a long weekend, since several school districts closed Friday after a winter storm dumped an average of 5 inches of snow across the state.
“The snowfall was about what we expected, with accumulations somewhere between 5 and 9 inches common, smaller and larger amounts in a few spots,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said during a news conference Friday afternoon.
Now the concern is the brutal cold that will linger through tomorrow.
The temperature is expected to be -10 at Bradley International Airport and the forecast for Bridgeport is -1 degree.
“Our primary concern now through tomorrow remains the extreme cold, and with that, the wind chill being a major factor. We’ll have wind chills as low as 25 below, it is anticipated,” Malloy said. “By this evening, we will see temperatures on the thermometer of -15 in some parts of our state with a wind chill hitting, as I said, -25.”
Several cities and towns have opened warming centers and Malloy directed the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the Department of Social Services and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to coordinate with 211 and Connecticut’s shelters.
Malloy said there are coordinated efforts to get people in need to warm facilities, including arranging for transportation services.
There were 127 calls for shelter information and four people were transported last night.
Shelters for the homeless were operating at about 120 percent of capacity last night and extended their hours of operation for people to remain in the shelters during daylight hours, when they would normally be closed, according to the governor.
He urged anyone in need of shelter to call 211, Malloy said.
He also urged residents to check on neighbors, particularly senior citizens.
Malloy also addressed the situation of the roads and urged people to avoid unnecessary travel until crews can finish clearing the roads.
The state Department of Transportation put all 632 vehicles out on the road, as well as 200 contractor trucks.
“Our state highways are all in pretty good shape. Some of the byways are being caught up with. Local governments are obviously responsible for their roads.
Jeff Adams, of the state DOT, said this morning that all of the state’s highways had some snow cover on them, but that the crews would be able to scrape them down after snow moved out of the state.
The brutal cold posed a challenge for clearing the roads because it takes more salt to do the job, Adams said. DOT will be able to make more progress once the sun comes up.
The storm also affected Metro-North, which is operating on a Saturday schedule.
The governor directed all non-essential state services to open at 9:30 a.m. today, including Department of Motor Vehicles offices statewide, to give plows time to clear roads overnight. This was about an hour later than most services normally begin.
As of 4 p.m. Friday, AAA had responded to 3,238 calls for service in the greater Hartford area and Eastern Connecticut on Thursday and Friday. Common issues have included dead batteries, flat tires, lockouts, vehicles off the road and a few motorists in need of fuel.
AAA said they expect more calls later today and Saturday as the storm passes and subzero temperatures move in.
The storm also affecting travel at Bradley Airport, where almost every morning flight scheduled was been canceled, with the exception of six flights.
Due to the weather, American Airlines waived the ticket reissuing charge for customers traveling to, through or from the following airports on Jan. 2 or 3 to easily change travel plans:
To change travel dates, contact reservations personnel at 1-800-433-7300.
Several towns issued parking bans and the Department of Motor Vehicles canceled all road tests for today. They also canceled all learner's permit test appointments scheduled before 10:15 a.m. Friday.
If you are scheduled for a road test, call the DMV to choose a new date.
If you are in the Hartford area, call 860-263-5700. Those outside the Hartford area can use the toll-free number, 800-842-8222. The DMV is also attempting to contact customers with road test appointments to advise them of the schedule change.
Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch declared a snow emergency ahead of the storm.
As of midnight, residents had to park on the side of the street with even house numbers (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) and avoid parking on snow emergency streets. Additional parking is available at certain schools.
Farmington issued a parking ban, which was in effect through noon on Friday. Stafford also issued a parking ban.
In Waterbury, residents were advised to pay attention to posted “Snow Zones” and a parking ban took effect at 4 p.m. There will be no parking on the odd numbered side of all city streets. Vehicles parked in snow zones or the odd numbered side of streets may be towed at the owner’s expense.
Stay up-to-date with the forecast here.
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