Malloy to lift travel ban, but urges residents to ‘stay off the roads’

(Updated at 6:14 p.m.)

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy lifted the travel ban Saturday evening, but is asking residents not to leave their houses unless it is an emergency.

Local roads across the state are expected to remain impassable for days as public works crews continue to deal with the aftereffects of the blizzard that dumped up to 3 feet of snow on much of the state. Malloy said the state highways are operating at two-thirds capacity and state snowplows are not going to be available to help clear city and town roads for days.

“There is precious little assistance we can lend,” Malloy told reporters at the State Armory in Hartford. “We are concentrating on our system.”


A Hartford resident snow blows his driveway

The National Weather Service reports that 40 inches of snow hit Hamden, 30 inches in Bridgeport and 27 inches in Hartford.

For the 35,500 residences and businesses still without power by 6 p.m. Saturday, Malloy said it could take days to clear the roads so power can be restored. (See a town-by-town outage map here and here.)

Train and bus service has begun operating on a limited basis. Metro-North is not expected to be running north of Stamford before the end of the weekend. The New Haven train station was hit with 38 inches of snow, and officials are working to clear the area.

Malloy said in an earlier briefing that state and municipal emergency personnel were setting up warming centers and shelters in affected areas.

“This is a record-setting storm,” Malloy said.

“It’s going to take time to dig out of the snow. Stalled or abandoned vehicles will only slow that process. Unless you face an emergency, please stay put.”

Malloy said that over 1,000 plow trucks have been deployed across Connecticut and state police have responded to over 1,600 calls since the storm.

The governor, who declared a state of emergency Friday, also said Saturday that more than 270 Connecticut National Guard members have been assigned to help state and municipal agencies, and “a few hundred more” were being called in as well.


Snowfall in Hartford

Malloy also reported earlier today some details behind the first storm-related fatality, which occurred Friday in Prospect, though a second was reported in Danbury, according to the Twitter site of city Mayor Mark Boughton.

Malloy did not release the name of the victim, but he said that an 81-year-old woman was struck by a car and killed Friday night in Prospect as she operated a snowblower. It could be a case of hit-and-run, he said, adding, “We know that the car did not stop.”

snow pine in storrs

A snow-covered pine in Mansfield Center, where about 24 inches fell.

Also around 11 a.m., Saturday, Boughton tweeted: “We have one storm-related fatality” in Danbury. “No details yet, but I’ll keep you updated.”

And though totals were not available, Malloy said communities also are reporting several cases of hypothermia involving people who were trapped for long periods of time in their cars. “We know on a municipal level there were a lot of them,” he said.

The governor urged residents during the Saturday morning briefing to ensure that all vents on their homes are cleared to prevent carbon monoxide from backing up into their homes.

Residents using generators for emergency power also must vent those machines outside of their homes, not in garages, to avoid CO-poisoning.

Malloy also asked residents who live near hydrants to assist local fire departments and shovel those hydrants clear of snow.

The governor has scheduled another update to the public at 6 p.m. Sunday.