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Connecticut, Northeast plan for blizzard conditions Saturday

Joe Amon
Connecticut Public

A powerful winter storm is approaching the Northeast, and officials say blizzard conditions Saturday are possible, especially in Southeastern Connecticut.

The snow is expected Friday night into Saturday. Gov. Ned Lamont says the state is as prepared as it can be for what could be a rough storm.

He has ordered a tractor trailer ban starting at 3 a.m. Saturday, moved up several hours from a proposed 6 a.m. ban he floated to the press at a briefing on Friday afternoon.

“No tractor trailers on the roads, period,” Lamont said. “Get them off the roads. That's going to be true in Connecticut. That’s true of our neighboring states, we are coordinating with them as well. I think you know the reason why. We've got to be able to get the snow plows through. They don't need anybody slowing things up. We've also got to be able to get emergency vehicles wherever they’ve got to go.”

State officials urged people to stay off the roads Friday and Saturday. The state Department of Transportation will have 600 plows out. Bus service has been suspended Saturday. Amtrak trains will not be running, but Metro-North will have a limited schedule.

Mitch Gross from Eversource said heavy winds in some areas could lead to power outages.

“Winds can be an issue -- high winds pushing the trees into our equipment,” he said. “We’re still seeing reports of the chance of very high wind speeds, especially in the Southeastern corner of the state. That area, and along the shoreline.”

He said Eversource has crews on standby to deal with potential outages, but residents should prepare by stocking up on supplies like food and water, and making sure devices are charged.

Steve Sullivan, the head of electric operations at Eversource, predicts that infrastructure damage is most likely in the eastern part of the state, where winds could reach up to 65 miles per hour.

“These high winds around the state, especially in the Southeast, they could bring down trees," Sullivan said. "That same snow and wind, that will make getting around the state difficult. So we do ask for people to have patience on that.”

The National Weather Service says heavy snow and strong winds were forecasted to begin in parts of the Carolinas and Appalachia on Friday evening. The system will then intensify as a nor’easter off the East Coast and bring snowy conditions up through New England, where forecasters warned of localized snowfall of more than 20 inches. Officials also say wind-blown snow could make travel nearly impossible and colder temperatures could mean dangerous wind chills.

Information from the Associated Press is included in this report.

Updated: January 28, 2022 at 3:49 PM EST
This story has been updated.