Round 2 of snow is in the books

A group of students from East Lyme High School and a friend from East Lyme Middle School travel downhill Wednesday as a group while taking advantage of a snow day to spend time sledding at McCook Point Park in Niantic.
A group of students from East Lyme High School and a friend from East Lyme Middle School travel downhill Wednesday as a group while taking advantage of a snow day to spend time sledding at McCook Point Park in Niantic. Dana Jensen/The Day Buy Photo

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy thanked the National Guard, first responders and state and municipal employees for their work during the storm Wednesday and asked residents to help dig out fire hydrants, assist elderly people and be careful shoveling the heavy snow.

"If you have a fire hydrant in your neighborhood and you have a little extra strength, would you go out and make sure that it is available to be called upon?" Malloy said from the State Emergency Operations Center at the Gov. William A. O'Neill State Armory in Hartford in a 5 p.m. press conference.

There was difficulty in locating a fire hydrant in Bridgeport during a fire earlier in the day, he said.

Malloy also said more road salt is on its way to the state.

The state Department of Transportation would continue to put salt on the roads throughout the night, he said. He encouraged municipalities to continue to plow streets because the roads would become even more difficult to clear after the temperature drops. A National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory in effect until 10 a.m. today warning of freezing rain and black ice.

Gary Lessor, a meteorologist with the Western Connecticut State University Weather Center, said Wednesday evening that more snow is coming Saturday into Sunday, and a larger storm is possible next Thursday.

Snow that was falling at a rate of 2 to 4 inches per hour early Wednesday morning in southeastern Connecticut later became a mix of sleet and freezing rain. Malloy thanked residents for heeding the state's warning and staying off the roads.

"State police responded to more than 12,000 calls for assistance today," Malloy said. "There were approximately 69 somewhat serious accidents with about 12 people injured."

In response to poor road conditions, he had closed state offices and ordered all first-shift and second-shift non-essential state employees to stay home.

Kevin Nursick, spokesman for the state DOT, said the entire fleet of 632 plow trucks in addition to 200 private contractors was on the roads, but had a hard time keeping up with the storm.

Lessor said Colchester and Norwich recorded 5 inches of snow, while 4.5 inches fell in Groton and Old Saybrook.

Farther inland, Newington and East Granby saw the highest recorded snow accumulation in the state, at 11 inches.

Power outages in southeastern Connecticut were concentrated in Stonington, Ledyard and Waterford, where a private plow hit a utility pole on Braman Road.

Malloy said a barge carrying road salt was on its way to Connecticut so the state would have enough salt for its roads.

Several municipalities have reported that they are low on salt. The governor said it is the municipalities' responsibility to purchase enough salt for their roads and that they should not look to the state for that purpose.

But the state has helped in the past, he said, and would "be helpful to municipalities when we can be."

i.larraneta@theday.com

j.somers@theday.com

A group of students from East Lyme High School and a friend from East Lyme Middle School hike back uphill Wednesday while taking advantage of a snow day to spend time sledding at McCook Point Park in Niantic.
A group of students from East Lyme High School and a friend from East Lyme Middle School hike back uphill Wednesday while taking advantage of a snow day to spend time sledding at McCook Point Park in Niantic. Dana Jensen/The Day Buy Photo
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