March’s lion has ensconced itself, with the third nor’easter in two weeks. Branford awakened today to Storm Skyler, which produced windy, heavy snow showers and dropped big, fat snowy ice pellets everywhere.
The school superintendent’s office announced last night that all Branford schools are closed.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for Branford, which remains in effect until 6 p.m. Heavy snow began falling on the shoreline about 11:15 a.m., with accumulations of between 6 to 10 inches expected. The snow is expected to end by 4 p.m. Northerly winds will be between 15 and 25 mph with gusts from 30 to 40 mph.By 12:30 p.m, about the time the snow began to die down, Branford had received 3.5 inches, according to the weather service. In the end the snow fizzled out.
The morning did not start out that way. Severe winter weather conditions have made travel hazardous with reduced visibility and wet roadways. The morning commute – for those who commuted – was difficult.
First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove asked residents to please avoid parking in the streets in order “to help our public works department clear the roads more quickly and efficiently.” Parking is restricted during and immediately after all snow and ice storms. No motor vehicle shall be parked on the even-numbered side of the street - whether or not in a parking space, the police said.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced this morning that Eversource and United Illuminating had reported 1,800 outages statewide. By noon that number had increased to 2,300 across the state. Last week’s storm produced 160,000 outages, and while many customers were frustrated by the loss of power and heat, the governor observed that given the number of outages the utility companies did a good job. In Branford, only 17 of Eversource’s 16,554 customers were without power this morning.
“People love their trees in Connecticut,” he noted. And those “long forgotten limbs,” often wind up over power lines. The governor reminded residents that a utility’s bucket truck cannot go up if winds are between 30 to 35 per miles.
Malloy reported that at this time all Amtrak and Shoreline East railroad service has been suspended. So far there were 26 car accidents, including two rollovers. “The rollovers were the most significant. People just need to slow down.”
One major concern is that temperatures are expected to go below freezing this afternoon. “Water can turn to ice in 20 minutes and that is the challenge we are preparing for,” the governor said. “We are concerned about dropping temperatures. If it gets down to 28 or 29 degrees, the roads freeze up pretty quickly.”
The major roads are currently slippery, he said. At Bradley Airport, 65 percent of air traffic has been cancelled.
Downed Trees and Wires
Branford and the shoreline experienced power outages from last week’s storm. The Branford Police Department said today that more power outages are expected from this storm.
“Please stay away from downed wires and report them to Eversource as soon as possible. We will try to keep you updated as much as possible on power outages throughout the storm,” the police said. To report a power outage, contact Eversource at 800-286-2000.
Police also said to stay clear of downed wires and fallen trees that could have wires caught in them. “Don’t touch anything or anyone that’s touching a downed wire. Assume all wires are energized. Contacting an overhead wire with your body or a conductive object like a ladder, pole or roofing material can cause serious injury or death. Accidents can happen even without contact, so always maintain a safe distance of at least 10 feet.”