Heavy snow prompts Malloy to cancel first shift for state employees

With at least one foot of snow covering Connecticut, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today cancelled the first shift for non-essential state employees and asked private employers to consider keeping their workers home.

In a televised briefing at 6 a.m. from the Emergency Operations Center in Hartford, the governor said heavy, windblown snow had contributed to numerous accidents, with four injuries over night. State troopers were checking on stranded motorists.

Malloy did not order the highways closed, but he suggested that motorists follow the example of state employees and stay home, if possible. The state was reporting sporadic road closings from accidents, including one that closed I-84 east in Waterbury.

“There’s just no reason to be out there,” Malloy said.

The state reported snowfalls at 5 a.m. ranging from 12 inches across much of the state to 17 inches in Rocky Hill, with snow falling at rates of one to three inches per hour. Accumulations could reach two feet in places by the end of the storm, forecasters said.

The governor’s next televised briefing is at noon.

Malloy signed an emergency order Tuesday night that will allow him to quickly close the state’s highways and take other steps if deemed necessary today, but it did not appear today he would use that power.

“We are declaring a civil preparedness emergency in anticipation of snow fall of 18 to 24 inches,” Malloy said at 9:30 Tuesday night, holding his third storm briefing of the day. “I hope all of that doesn’t happen. I want to be very clear.”

Courts were closed today, as well as most, if not all, school systems.

Utilities reported scattered outages, which are regularly updated on these online maps posted by Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating.

Malloy originally said non-essential state employees should not report to work before noon, but he revised that order today at 6 a.m. to cancel the first shift.

Updates are available on the state’s emergency web site.

He described the emergency order he signed at 9:11 p.m as precautionary.

“If circumstances present themselves, I’ll have the power to close highways and state and local roads–if that becomes necessary,” Malloy said.