Storm blankets Greater New Haven, thousands wake up without power
Thousands of residents in the Greater New Haven area woke up to power outages and closed roads Thursday, after 4 to 13 inches of snow fell Wednesday and overnight, according to the National Weather Service.
At 6 p.m., The United Illuminating Co. reported 8,300 outages. .
Director of Emergency Operations Rick Fontana said New Haven experienced severe winter weather Wednesday, between 5 to 10 p.m., which included “thundersnow,” a rare storm with thunder and lightning that also drops snow.
He said there have been 64 wire calls, 39 of which involved power loss. At one point, 1,997 customers were without power, according to Fontana. He said Wooster Square and Fountain Street are the two main areas still experiencing power outages.
Ian Guthrie, who lives on Court Street in New Haven, said Thursday morning that he hadn’t had power since 8 p.m. Wednesday. He said he lit 35 tealights, strategically placed around his apartment, before going to bed.
“There was a really big bright flash, right past the train tracks. Then the street light started blinking red and then went out,” Guthrie said.
When Guthrie went to bed Wednesday night, the temperature in his apartment was 66 degrees, but upon waking up discovered it had dropped to 58 degrees. He said he was on his way to find some place warm, and that had Wi-Fi, to get some work done.
Dana Durant, who lives on Olive Street, said he lost power around 9 p.m. Wednesday, but it came back on at 3 a.m. He said he snuggled up with his dog under an extra quilt, as “it was starting to get cold in (his) apartment.”
Durant said he read with a flashlight before going to bed and woke up around 3 a.m. when his kitchen lights came back on.
Fontana said the parking ban in the downtown area has ended, but the residential ban — cars can only park on the even side of the street —is still in effect until 8 a.m. Friday.
“We’re doing this for almost an additional 24 hours, so we can get good headway in the smaller residential streets. I think it will make a huge difference,” he said.
Residents experiencing a snow-related issue are urged to call the Emergency Operations Center at 203-946-8221 instead of 911, he said.
Fontana said the goal is to have most of this wrapped up Friday, but power outages may still be problematic.
Director of Public Works Jeff Pescosolido said snow plows were in a “push back operation” to open up intersections and areas that now where they had issues, such as downed trees or low hanging wires.
Assistant Fire Chief Mark Vendetto said all on-duty personnel are out making sure the streets are passable and identifying any problems with wires, hydrants and trees.
Police Sgt. Dana Smith said there were only 12 motor vehicle accidents between 6 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday, with minor to no injuries. He said police also responded to 402 calls, none of which were major.
As of 6 p.m., UI was reporting 19 customers without power in Ansonia, seven in Derby, 187 in East Haven, 703 in Hamden, 253 in Milford, 276 in New Haven, 141 in North Branford, 117 in North Haven, 65 in Orange, 1,001 in Shelton, 37 in West Haven and 557 in Woodbridge.
Milford Mayor Ben Blake said his city had a significant number of downed trees as a result of the storm, causing a number of outages across town.
“Last night, UI (The United Illuminating Co.) had over 1,700 Milford customers without power around 11 p.m. but that number has since been reduced,” he said early Thursday. “UI and the city continue to make safe those utility lines at issue; at this point, there’s still a few hundred Milford homes without power. The city continues to work to clear our roads and sidewalks.”
In Hamden, town offices delayed opening until 10 a.m. to provide for storm cleanup.
State police on Thursday said that during the duration of the storm, from 11 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday, troopers responded to 1,526 calls for service. There were 166 accidents without injuries, six accidents with injuries and 565 motorist assists on state roads, state police said.
The Clinton Crossings Premium Outlet also delayed opened at noon Thursday due to the storm.
As of 6 p.m., Eversource was reporting 380 customer outages in Bethany, 237 in Seymour, 94 in Cheshire, 989 in Branford, 4,775 in Guilford and 3,009 in Madison.
Dispatchers from the Connecticut State Police in Bethany and Westbrook said there were no major accidents overnight, just a lot of downed trees in wires.
The state Department of Transportation said Route 42 was closed in Bethany at both Cook Lane and Horseshoe Drive due to a fallen tree on wires. In Seymour, Route 115 by Colony Street and Route 313 by Warren Road were both closed due to a downed tree in the wires. In North Branford, Route 22 at Forest Road was closed because a fallen tree in the roadway.
In Shelton, Route 108 was closed between Oak Avenue and Wooster Street, and in Madison, Route 1 was closed at Lovers Lane, all due to downed trees in wires, according to the DOT.
North Haven Police tweeted about a large tree down, with power lines, on the Hartford Turnpike near the entrance to Route 15. Drivers were advised to avoid this area.
Bradley International Airport remained open throughout the storm, but more than half of the flights were canceled Wednesday, spokeswoman Alisa D. Sisic said.
“Today, we’re continuing our cleanup efforts,” she said Thursday.
Flights were still impacted Thursday morning with approximately 30 percent of the departures canceled.
“However, this afternoon’s schedule is on track with only a small number of cancellations and delays,” Sisic said.
Passengers are advised to contact their airline regarding their individual flight itineraries and any potential rebooking options before heading to the airport.
Gov. Dannel Malloy announced early Thursday that all state offices had a one-hour delayed opening due to inclement weather conditions. Non-essential, first-shift employees had to report to work one hour from their normal reporting time, according to a press release.
“As the clean-up from yesterday’s winter storm continues, we feel that it’s best to delay the opening of state offices in order to allow crews a little extra time to plow the roads and parking lots,” Malloy said in the release. “We encourage everyone to exercise extreme caution while driving. We especially want to thank our hardworking state and local plow crews who have been working throughout the night to clear the roads across our state, as well as state and local emergency personnel and first-responders.”
This story will be updated throughout the day.