Malloy: Ice storm could be more trouble than record snows

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy warned that a half-inch accumulation of ice--a possibility in Wednesday's expected ice storm--could do more damage than the nearly five feet of snow that fell on Connecticut last month.

UPDATE: Malloy has ordered non-essential state employees to delay their arrival until 10:30 a.m.

"I think there are probably nine states that are nervous about ice situations developing, and that's the biggest danger," Malloy said TUesday during a midday storm briefing at the State Armory in Hartford.

Connecticut was spared large-scale power outages of during January, the state's snowiest month on record. February began today with a fresh snowfall, to be followed tomorrow by mixed precipitation, including freezing rain.

Malloy said a heavy ice accumulation has greater potential than snow to cause widespread damage to the power grid: "You lose wires, you lose poles, you lose other connections."

The state is expecting between a quarter inch and a half inch of ice.

"A quarter inch is not a big deal," Malloy said. "You get to the half inch... we're going to see outages. You get over a half inch, we're going to see large outages."

With snow expected to stop before rush hour, Malloy said he saw no reason to send home state employees. A second storm is expected to begin at 2 a.m., bring a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain.

Only four inches of snow was expected in the Hartford area today, he said.

"Under normal circumstances, this would not be a big, big, situation," Malloy said. "But obviously everything is starting to compound, and it gets more difficult each time we have a snow fall."

Malloy repeated his warnings about removing snow from flat roofs and clearing vents on heating systems. With a smile, he noted that some commentators have accused him of becoming the state's nanny.

"Listen, we're just trying to have people be mindful of some of the precautions they need to take," Malloy said.