Town prepares for snowstorm

Update — Thursday, 6:12 p.m.:  All schools and offices in Easton, Redding and Region 9 School Districts will be closed tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 8, due to the impending snowstorm. 

As snow forecasts for approaching nor’easter continue to fluctuate, it appears that southwest Connecticut could escape the worst of the blizzard, which has been named Nemo. But that could still be 10 to 14 inches in the area, according to the National Weather Forecast.

First Selectmen Natalie Ketcham alerted residents Thursday morning about the impending storm with potentially high winds. The town’s emergency management team met today, Thursday, Jan. 7, to prepare for the storm, she said. Ms. Ketcham is asking people to be off the roads as early as possible on Friday and asked them not to park on the roadsides, which could hamper snow-plowing efforts.

“While we all hope that power is not affected, residents should be prepared to remain at home for 72 hours without electricity,” Ms. Ketcham said. Emergency preparation plans are available on the town’s website, townofreddingct.org.

If there are widespread outages due to the storm, Ms. Ketcham said Connecticut Light and Power should be called at 800-286-2000.

A decision will be made on Sunday as to whether there is a need to open warming centers or a shelter in the town, she said.

Jeff Hanson, highway superintendent, said he is getting salt deliveries today and his crew is working on trucks to avoid any breakdowns.

Trucks are fueled and plows are on the trucks, said Mr. Hanson. “We are all set to go when the storm starts,” he said.

He said this will be a storm with a lot of plowing because the snow is predicted to come down “so fast and furious.” The good news, he said, is that the bulk of the snow is expected Friday night and over the weekend.

Easton, Redding and Region 9 school districts are also preparing for  the pending nor’easter due to hit the Redding area on Friday.

An email sent to parents was not an announcement for an early dismissal, but just a notification of the decision that will most likely be made early tomorrow morning, if not sooner, said Dr. Bernard Josefsberg, superintendent for ER9.

Dismissal times would be adjusted so that the last school pick-up occurs no later than 12:30 p.m.

Specifically, Joel Barlow High School would dismiss at 11 a.m. with no lunch; Redding Elementary School at 11:45 a.m. with no lunch served and John Read Middle School at 12:25 p.m. and snacks will be served.

“I will be keeping a watchful eye on the forecast. Later on this afternoon, I will be conferring with the area superintendents,” said Dr. Josefsberg.

For those who are not registered to receive alerts directly from the town, go to ctalert.gov to sign up.

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reminds drivers they need to scrape off the heavy amounts of snow and ice before traveling or face a possible $75 fine for having a car on the road loaded down with these icy elements.

This state law, which aims to prevent safety risks from these blowing winter hazards, pertains to passenger cars and other non-commercial vehicles. Fines can increase up to $1,000 for drivers who operate these vehicles when flying snow or ice off them causes personal injury or property damage.

The winter storm watch is in effect from Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon for southern Fairfield County. But finding how Nemo will affect Fairfield County is still too early to tell. Forecasts have ranged from six inches to two feet of snow.

It could bring heavy snow, sleet and strong winds, according to the weather service. Winds are expected to be north at 20 to 30 mph, with gusts up to 55 mph. The temperature is expected to be around 30 by Friday afternoon.

The worst of the storm is expected to be from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning.

While earlier forecasts were warning of more rain here, it now appears there will be much more snow than rain, with some trace amounts of ice, on Friday.

This storm is expected to be much worse east and north of Fairfield County, where blizzard watches, which are a step above winter storm watches, are in effect all the way to Boston and northern Massachusetts.

But locally the weather service is warning of “near blizzard conditions” here that could make for dangerous driving condition and bring down some tree limbs, causing scattered power outages.

Snow could late Thursday or early Friday morning, according to the weather service, leaving a half inch by the time the sun rises.

More snow is expected before 1 p.m., then it could turn to rain along the coast and be a wintry mix to the north. But the snow-rain line continues to fluctuate, meaning it could be either precipitation here. But for now, Friday’s high is expected to be near 38. New snow accumulation during the day on Friday could total two inches.

On Friday night, any wintry mix that is falling will become all snow after 10 p.m. as the temperature drops down to 23 overnight. Expect a “blustery,” north wind at 18 to 25 mph, with gusts up to 55 mph, according to the weather service. New snow accumulation over Friday night could six to 10 inches.

Heavy snow could continue to fall until 1 p.m. Saturday. It could continue until 4 p.m. — but it might not. It’s too early to tell. Saturday’s high is expected to be 30 and windy. Temperatures could drop to 11 on Saturday night, which could be a worry for anyone who loses power because of this storm.

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