Winter storm could blanket parts of CT with up to a foot of snow
A winter storm warning will go into effect starting 4 p.m. Saturday in advance of a snowstorm that could bring up to a foot of snow to parts of southern New England.
Forecasters expect the bulk of the precipitation to come late Saturday into Sunday, bringing with it a potential for strong winds. Five to 12 inches of snow is possible in parts of Connecticut.
It would mark the first snowstorm of the season.
Gov. Ned Lamont said utility companies will have extra line crews working this weekend in the event of any downed power lines and outages.
Snowfall totals where you live
A winter storm warning is in effect for parts of the state starting Saturday afternoon. The National Weather Service warns of snow, heavy winds and difficult road conditions.
Inland portions of Connecticut could see snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches. Five to 10 inches of snow are possible in southern portions of the state, with less expected on the coast.
"Amounts will be lower near the shore where rain mixes in," Connecticut Public Meteorologist Garett Argianas said. "Plan on travel delays Saturday night and Sunday."
"Travel could be very difficult. Snow loading from heavy wet snow may lead to power outages," the National Weather Service says.
Drivers urged to avoid travel
Lamont said residents can help with the cleanup by doing one thing: staying home.
“Stay off the roads," Lamont said Friday morning. "[It] makes it a lot easier, quicker and safer for us to get the roads plowed."
A travel ban could be implemented, but officials said the severity of the storm makes that unlikely.
Even a dusting of snow can make roads treacherous, officials warn.
"With mild winters the last few years, it is critical that drivers be reminded that they need to adjust to the conditions," Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Club Alliance, said in a statement. "While some vehicles are better equipped for snowy roadways, no vehicle or set of tires can prevent skidding on slick roadways."
DOT deals with staffing shortages before the storm
Across Connecticut, roads have been pre-treated for icing and hundreds of plow trucks are standing ready to clear the roads, said Garrett Eucalitto, commissioner of the state Department of Transportation.
But a shortage of DOT plow truck drivers and contractors means it will take longer to clear the roads, he said.
"We're short about a quarter of our contractors this year," Eucalitto said. "It's just a difficult job market; I think they're having difficulty filling positions, just like we are."
Drivers should stay off the roads, but if they have to travel, Eucalitto said, be patient and give plows the space to do their work.
"The fewer drivers we have, the longer it's going to take for us to do our job," he said.
Forecasters urge patience with storm projections
During the week, forecasters urged patience as various storm models announced different projections for the storm — and its potential snowfall. Argianas said marginal temperatures have made forecasting this storm difficult.
Inland predictions call for snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches with winds gusting as high as 40 mph.
"With temperatures close to freezing, the snow is not going to be super fluffy," Argianas said. "So it's not going to pile up as much. But the potential for that mixing line to work into the shoreline — and maybe farther inland — is related to the temperature, and the ocean is still quite warm, so there is a lot going on here."
Connecticut Public's Eddy Martinez and Matt Dwyer contributed to this report.