Don’t go to work Monday.
Don’t even go to the hospital for scheduled surgery.
Mayor John DeStefano delivered that message Sunday evening as the city moved into another phase of tackling the aftermath of Winter Storm Nemo, which dumped a historic 34 inches on New Haven and largely paralyzed the city.
Returning from a trip to Dublin, DeStefano delivered the message alongside the mayors of Hamden, West Haven, and East Haven at a 6:30 p.m. press conference on the New Haven Green. (Click on the play arrow to watch DeStefano afterward detail New Haven’s planning for Monday morning.)
“It is just not safe to come out yet. Particularly [with] freezing rain tomorrow,” DeStefano remarked. “Right now there’s too much snow and too many cars for what space exists on city streets. Our message is tomorrow to stay home.”
Or as Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson put it: “There is too much snow. There is too much to plow ... Sometimes Mother Nature deals a hand that is not in your deck.”
As some citizens began fretting about getting to work, the mayor announced that major employers—including Yale, Gateway Community College, the schools, and city government—will all remain closed Monday at DeStefano’s request.
Yale-New Haven is also suspending elective surgery, though patients should check with their doctors to make sure.
And while no formal ban is in place on driving, officials are still urging people to keep their cars off the road.
“We’re going into the neighborhoods” with payloaders to begin plowing roads throughout town before returning to the major arterial streets to widen the lanes, the mayor said.
Most roads remain impassable in town, although crews have succeeded in clearing single lanes on major arterial streets as well as second-tier thoroughfares.
But the idea has been to make them passable for emergency vehicles. Not for people’s cars. Drivers have made the many roads impassable again by trying to drive on them. Click here to read about how that was complicating the efforts of the fire department to respond to emergency and help get streets cleared Sunday.
“We’re urging employers if they stay closed tomorrow” so drivers don’t try getting to the center of town from the neighborhoods, DeStefano said.
Meanwhile, DeStefano said, the city will “aggressively” tow cars that are stuck in intersections or otherwise on the streets Monday.
“People are trying to [drive] in two-way traffic. They’re getting stuck in embankments. We have to pull equipment off to rescue the cars,” the mayor reported. “Or [after shoveling out cars] they’re going into intersections where there’s a lot of snow still in the ground. They’re getting stuck.” That won’t be allowed, he vowed.
The city is clearing school parking lots Sunday night. People should bring cars there if they have nowhere else to put them, DeStefano advised.
“I know it’s frustrating. We all understand that. Stay home if you at all can tomorrow. It will help you in the long run. It will help your neighbors,” he said.
DeStefano said officials will have a better handle on plowing progress Monday morning and will issue an estimate then about how long it will take to clear all of New Haven’s roads.
The assembled mayors were dressed in storm-casual attire Sunday night: all but DeStefano in blue jeans, West Haven’s and East Haven’s mayors in sweatshirts, no ties or suits in sight.