FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — Stay off the roads and stay ahead of the shoveling. That was the message Tuesday morning from Gov. Dannel Malloy to Connecticut residents, who are quickly becoming snowbound by a blizzard.
"it's a good day to make brownies," said Malloy. "A good day to read a book."
But first, you may want to tackle that shoveling, with up to 2 feet of snow expected in parts of Fairfield County.
As of 8:30 a.m., the National Weather Service reported the following snowfall amounts, after just a few hours of snow:
- Danbury: 10.0 inches
- Norwalk: 5.0 inches
- Bridgeport Airport: 4.5 inches
The northern part of Fairfield County remains under a Blizzard Warning until late Tuesday night, with 18 to 24 inches of snow possible.
Residents along the shoreline have lucked out: The National Weather Service downgraded the system from a Blizzard Warning to a Winter Storm Warning. But still, a total 12 to 18 inches of snow is still expected in southern Fairfield County.
It will be blustery, too, with a north wind of 22 to 25 mph, and gusts as high as 40 to 55 mph.
Malloy reminded residents that a travel ban is in place for the state's highways, except for essential travel. Violating the ban could bring a $92 fine.
"I don't close the roads too often, folks," he said.
"By all accounts, people are compiling with our request to stay off the roads," Malloy said. It's easier for the state to clear the snow without cars — or worse, accidents — along the highways.
"It will be quicker for us to get back to normal" if the state can stay ahead of the plowing, he said.
The state learned from the blizzard of 2013 and from Hurricanes Sandy and Irene about how to better handle storms, Malloy said.
"Remember those pictures from the '70s" of cars stuck on snowbound highways, he said. "If cars get trapped, you can get a parking lot on the highway. That's what we are trying to avoid. That can take days to plow out."
From 5 to 10 a.m., state police troopers have responded to 14 no-injury crashes, 34 motorist assists and 342 calls for service.
Malloy also stressed the safety factor of the travel ban for both drivers and for state police.
Also, Metro-North is suspending all operations as of noon. (For details, click here .) CTTransit buses and Greater Bridgeport Transit buses are not running.
Residents should be prepared for more heavy snow, strong winds and whiteout conditions.
Winds will be strong enough to knock down tree limbs and power lines, causing power outages, especially along the coast.
Minor to moderate flooding could occur at high tide in the afternoon, with the tide 2 to 5 feet higher than normal.
Snow could fall at a rate of 3 to 4 inches per hour.
Temperatures will be in the upper 20s, but feel colder due to the strong winds.
The state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol has also been activated through 8 a.m. Thursday, March 16. A listing of all available shelters and warming centers open statewide can be found by calling 2-1-1 or visiting www.211ct.org .
For updates throughout the duration of the storm, click here to visit the State of Connecticut’s official winter storm website.