Gov. Dannel P. 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 Wednesday as a Nor’easter spreads up to two feet of snow across Connecticut.

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

Malloy said non-essential state employees should not report to work before noon, when the storm is expected to subside. He said he will give further directions in another briefing at 6 a.m. Wednesday; employees should check the state’s emergency web site for updates.

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 at the Emergency Operations Center at the State Armory.

“People will ask why we are doing this. We are looking at very large snowfall predictions,” Malloy said. For much of the state, he said, the most of the predictions have centered on an 18-inch snowfall.

The governor said he will be happy if the preparations prove unnecessary, though the state is facing “a 90-percent certainty” of a sizable snow storm.

“This is a sizable snow fall,” Malloy said. “Again, if it doesn’t come or it goes by or it doesn’t happen, that would be great news.”

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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