Schools, State Offices Close as Snowstorm Approaches

Some schools have canceled classes for Wednesday and winter storm warnings have been issued for most of Connecticut as a storm threatens to bring up to a foot of snow on one of the busiest travel days of the year. 

The northern and western parts of the state could receive up to 12 inches, and a band of 4-8 inches is expected just south of the Interstate 84 corridor. The southeastern tip of the state and the shoreline will see between a coating and 4 inches.

State offices will close at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and the Connecticut Department of Transportation has canceled all scheduled roadwork, according to the governor's office.

Public schools in Waterbury will be closed tomorrow and parking bans have been issued in advance of the storm. All University of Connecticut campuses with the exception of the health center will close at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said he will be partially activating the emergency operations center at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Malloy is urging residents to travel to their Thanksgiving destinations today or Thursday and to stay off the roads tomorrow during the height of the storm.

People at the airport and on the roads are trying to get to their holiday destinations before the storm comes in on the busiest travel day of the year.

Malloy also advised people to use mass transit, such as Metro-North, if possible. The railroad will be adding service as of 1 p.m. on Wednesday to help people arrive at their destinations.

State Department of Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker said 632 trucks in the state fleet are prepared for snow removal and 251 plows are under contract and ready to go.

An additional 112 frontloaders and 12 massive snowblowers will be used, and state officials have also organized bucket trucks, brush cutters and chippers in case trees come down.

"I think we are in great shape," Redeker said. "We will be staffing our operation beginning at midnight tonight to be way ahead of the curve in terms of the storm, and we'll be prepared to address the conditions as they evolve."

As slush develops, DOT crews will be pre-treating roads, Redeker said.

"In heavy, congested areas, our trucks cannot go any faster than the cars. We won't be able to go back out around again, so instead we will be putting down extra material as we go the first pass to try to stay ahead of the storm," Redeker said.   

To get the word out about road conditions and delays, the state will be using traffic signs on state highways and the Department of Transportation will be tweeting alerts and updates.

People fill the Naugatuck Big Y to get last minute Thanksgiving Day meal items before the storm.

This storm will quickly intensify and produce accumulating snow during the day Wednesday and into the night. Expect major travel issues in the northeast as road conditions deteriorate throughout the day.

The National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings from 7 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday for Hartford, Litchfield, Windham, Tolland and the northern portions of Fairfield and New Haven counties.

A winter storm warning has also been issued for northern Middlesex County from 7 a.m. Wednesday to 1 a.m. Thursday. Mostly rain is expected along the immediate shoreline.

The storm will move out quickly Wednesday night and we should see fair, chilly weather on Thanksgiving Day.

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