Road and Power Crews Work to Restore Normalcy After Blizzard

Connecticut residents continued to dig out from the Blizzard of 2013 as freezing rain makes roads slick on Monday morning.

State police shut down I-91 from Windsor to the Massachusetts state line Monday morning due to icing conditions.  Department of Transportation crews treated the surfaces and most of the highway was reopened within an hour.

Flooding was reported along I-95 in Branford, Milford and Bridgeport, according to state police.

As workers labored to clear clogged roads , President Barack Obama has declared a federal state of emergency for residents.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has held daily briefings and urged residents on Sunday to be patient about local road clearing because this is a record-setting storm.

"Municipal officials and their employees are working very hard to clear the problems that exist. I know that people are impatient, but I remind everyone is a record snowfall, the likes of which our state has never seen or not seen since the 1880s," Malloy said. "Unfortunately we live in a much more urban environment, or maybe it's fortunate, but it's a very urban and compact environment and moving a lot of the snowpiles require heavier equipment."

Some of the equipment is on its way and some will me made available when the state is finished using it.

Several state departments are closed on Monday and non-essential state employees were told to stay home.

Gov. Malloy urged businesses to allow employees to work from home if they have a policy that allows that. He also encouraged ride sharing 

Most colleges and universities in the state are closed on Monday, Malloy said. 

Clearing of highways is a priority, Malloy said, and he expects the state should be able to lend some equipment to hard-hit municipalities by the end of the business day tomorrow.  

The massive blizzard, which arrived on Friday is being blamed for at least five deaths.

Other developments:

  • With the travel ban lifted for most of the state late Saturday afternoon, motorists are still encouraged to stay off roads so crews can work faster. The Town of North Branford, however, announced a non-emergency vehicle travel ban until 6 p.m. on Sunday. New Haven’s travel ban remained in effect throughout Sunday
  • The Connecticut Power & Light  power outages are down to around 140 on Monday morning, down from about 7,000 on Sunday evening. Bill Qunilan, of CL&P, said on Sunday night that power had been restored to more than 60,000 customers and he hoped to have power restored by midnight. Crews had been hindered by massive amounts of snow, a spokesman told the Hartford Courant, but were now moving forward with restoration. Crews will now be available to help restore power in Massachusetts, he said.
  • The government is setting up warming centers for people without heat in those areas.
  • Six building collapses have been reported over the weekend. With another storm in the forecast for Monday, Malloy is urging people, especially those with flat roofs, to clear them of snow if possible.
  • Metro North service remains suspended between Stamford and New Haven and on the branch lines.
  • Amtrak announced it will restore limited service between New York and Boston on Sunday. All Springfield Shuttle service between New Haven, Conn. and Springfield, Mass. remains canceled. Empire Service between New York and Albany will operate a normal Sunday schedule. And The Downeaster service between Brunswick, Maine and Boston has resumed service with some modifications.
  • The presidential emergency declaration allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster efforts, which could include snow removal equipment, power generation and manpower, according to the governor's office.
  • Some school districts, including New Haven and Wallingford, have announced school closings for Monday. Click through for a complete list of school closings and cancellations.

The storm, packing hurricane-force wind gusts and blizzard conditions, left much of the Northeast under a thick blanket of powder. New England was hit the hardest, with places like Hamden getting an unofficial count of 40 inches of snow and Boston getting more than 21 inches, the sixth most all time.

Today workers hurried to restore things to normal before the work week begins tomorrow.

Right now our main priority is to clear roads," Gov. Dannel Malloy said at news briefing Saturday. "We are asking people of Connecticut to cooperate. This will allow us to clear the roads much more rapidly and get back to normal as quickly as possible."

The clean-up will probably last days, he said.

While the storm was a just a major inconvenience for many, for others it was fatal.

A 20-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman were found dead in a car in Meriden on 

An 80-year-old woman was hit by a car on Friday night in Prospect while operating a snow blower, Malloy said. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said a man in his town died after slipping and falling while trying to clear his porch.

A 53-year-old man was found dead outside his Bridgeport home on Saturday morning.

A 49-year-old man on Darrin Drive in Shelton died from unknown health causes, police said. His truck, which had a plow on it, was stuck and police said he might have tried to shovel out the car.

Mayor Mark Boughton said that there is a storm-related fatality in Danbury. A man slipped on his deck and was found this morning, the mayor said.

A 20-year-old man and 18-year-old woman were found dead in a car in Meriden on Sunday morning. The medical examiner has not ruled a cause of death, but police said it appears they died of carbon monoxide poisoning when they went to listen to music in the car.

Staggering snow totals were reported across the state.

The storm has elicited a massive emergency response.

About 270 National Guard personnel have been called into duty to help state and local agencies with the storm response, with more on the way, Malloy said. He added that he has allowed local 911 dispatching agencies to put off ambulance response to non-essential calls in areas that cannot be reached.

The state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection warned residents never to use portable generators indoors, in basements, garages or close to a home. The exhaust from generators contains high levels of carbon monoxide greater than that of multiple cars running in a garage, which can quickly incapacitate and kill.

Malloy also urged residents to clear snow from houses' side vents to prevent deadly buildups of carbon monoxide.

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