Best to stay off roads this morning

Phil Brown and Kamila Pelliccia, both sales consultants at Don Mallon Chevrolet on Rt. 32 in Norwich, clear snow off vehicles in the dealership lot Wednesday, February 5, 2014.

The snow that was falling at a rate of 2 to 4 inches per hour early this morning has transitioned into a mix of sleet and freezing rain.

Gary Lessor, a meteorologist with the Western Connecticut State University Weather Center, said only the northern part of the state is still seeing snow.

Lessor, however, is still urging motorists "to wait of couple hours" before heading out on the roads.

In response to the poor road conditions, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has closed all state offices. He has ordered all first-shift and second-shift non-essential state employees to stay home. State employees are encouraged to contact their supervisors for further guidance.

"I don't like the term non-essential because I think everyone does important work, but with poor road conditions I don't want to put anyone in harms way," Malloy said in a statement. "I would also encourage private employers to follow the state's lead."

Malloy has also instituted a soft ban on tandem trucks on the state's interstate highways.

Kevin Nursick, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said the entire fleet of 632 plow trucks in addition to 200 private contractors are on the roads.

"We just can't keep up," said Nursick. "Mother Nature has the upper hand when snow comes down at this rate. It will be several hours at a minimum after the storm ends when you will start to see blacktop again."

He too is encouraging people to stay off the roads.

"All you need is one or two minor accidents to keep people stranded for hours," said Nursick.

Lessor said Colchester received 5 inches of snow, 4.5 inches in Groton and 5 inches in Norwich.

Waterbury received the most snow at 9 inches while Groton received the least, he added.

The National Weather Center has issued a winter storm warning until 6 p.m. — around the time the storm is expected to exit the state.

Lessor said there is a chance to see snow shower in the evening as a mass of cold air enters the region.

State and local police are not reporting any road closures at this time. State police have responded to about a dozen spin outs this morning, but none were reported with serious injuries.

As of 10:30 a.m. Connecticut Light & Power is reporting that 64 customers are without power after a private plow struck and snapped an utility pole on Braman Road.

Lessor said another storm is expected Sunday afternoon into early Monday morning. That storm could bring 4 to 8 inches of snow.b


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