Things to know as major winter storm hits Connecticut


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HARTFORD, Connecticut — A major winter storm dropped a foot of snow or more over much of Connecticut, hitting hardest in the eastern part of the state. Here are some things to know about the storm that is expected to affect Connecticut through Tuesday:


Power outages have been minimal around Connecticut. Although Connecticut Light & Power warned customers Monday that the storm could bring down power lines and knock out electricity, it was reporting fewer than 100 customers without power Tuesday morning. Al Lara, a spokesman for CL&P parent company Northeast Utilities, said the snow has been light and powdery, posing little threat to power lines that typically come down under ice or wet and heavy snow. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the biggest outage, affecting more than 500 customers, was the result of a plow truck hitting a utility pole.


A travel ban on state highways has been lifted for Fairfield County and Litchfield County in western Connecticut, though it remains in effect for the rest of the state. Malloy said people stayed off the roads as instructed overnight and there were very few traffic accidents, with only one injury. Bradley International Airport closed for flights at 7 p.m. Monday until further notice. Malloy said he didn't know when service on the Metro-North Railroad might resume, but with heavy snow expected, he said he would not expect "too many trains" Tuesday.


With the snow still blowing sideways, Yasser Sheriff, 42, was one of the only people outdoors Tuesday morning in his South Windsor neighborhood, clearing his driveway with a snow blower. He said he wanted to get it done before going inside to work from home for the day. "I've finished round one," he said, looking over his freshly cleared driveway. "We'll see what comes later today." He said the storm that had dropped about a foot of snow locally so far was not as bad as he expected.


Schools across the state were closed Tuesday. The University of Connecticut canceled classes Monday afternoon and Tuesday, a board of trustees meeting Wednesday and a men's hockey game scheduled in Hartford on Tuesday night. The state Judicial Branch canceled jury duty Tuesday and Wednesday. And the WWE canceled its RAW wrestling event in Hartford on Monday night.


Malloy activated the emergency operations center. Such preparations are a familiar drill for the Democrat, who dealt with a series of blockbuster storms during his first term, including Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene. In Malloy's first two years in office, President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for Connecticut for five storms.


Plow truck driver Larry Messier, 60, dealt with 3-foot snow drifts Tuesday morning as he tried to drive from Columbia to Lebanon in eastern Connecticut. "My plow was hitting it. It was covering my windshield, and I stopped," he said. "It was bad."

As he was out plowing driveways, he said, the snow was failing so quickly that a road that had been freshly plowed at 3 a.m. had about 8 inches of snow on it by daybreak.

"At 4 o'clock this morning, it was the worst I've ever seen it," he said. "You could plow, and then 5 minutes later you'd have to plow again."


Towns in eastern Connecticut are catching the brunt of the snowfall, with 20 inches reported in Killingly by 9 a.m. and 18 inches in Ashford. Towns in western Connecticut were reporting less than 6 inches of snow.

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