Because of the cold weather that has moved into the state, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Monday that he has reactivated the state's Severe Cold Weather Protocol, directing a variety of state agencies to coordinate with the 2-1-1 system and the state's network of shelters to ensure people are protected from the severe weather.
A wind chill advisory went into effect for parts of the state starting after midnight and warned of gusty winds and below zero wind chill temperatures. The National Weather Service predicted wind chills as low as minus 9 degrees last night in New London County. The forecast for tonight predicts a low of around 5 degrees with wind chills as low as minus 12, according to the National Weather Service.
"We continue to take the necessary steps to make sure that we can take care of those in need of shelter, especially our state's most vulnerable populations," Malloy said in a written statement. "I urge anyone in need of shelter to call 2-1-1 and encourage local communities to consider opening warming centers or other facilities to help people in need."
Reduced Amtrak service
Amtrak has announced a reduced schedule for today in Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston, and on the Empire Lines between New York City and Albany because of the anticipated cold. Passengers are encouraged to call 1-800-USA-RAIL or to visit www.Amtrak.com/alerts for passenger notices and service alerts. Schedule information and train status updates also are available at www.Amtrak.com.
Under the state's Severe Cold Weather Protocol, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services activates its WebEOC communications network — an Internet-based system that allows local, regional and state emergency management officials and first responders to share up-to-date information about a variety of situations and conditions. The system is used to monitor capacity at shelters across the state, enabling 2-1-1 to act as a clearinghouse to assist in finding shelter space for those who need it. Local officials, working through WebEOC, can alert 2-1-1 and the state when they open temporary shelters or warming centers.
The Department of Social Services and the Department of Housing coordinate with 2-1-1 and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, and work with vendors to resolve transportation issues for people needing shelter during the period of severe cold.
The Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, meanwhile, has teams who specialize in working with homeless people to locate those who are at risk, spread the word about the 2-1-1 system, and encourage everyone to take advantage of the safety of shelters. The agency is also working with shelters to assess and meet the needs of individual clients during this cold weather outbreak.