Snow causes slippery roads, crashes across region

People walk across the Connecticut College campus during the first snowfall of the season Thursday evening, Nov. 15, 2018.  (Dana Jensen/The Day)
People walk across the Connecticut College campus during the first snowfall of the season Thursday evening, Nov. 15, 2018. (Dana Jensen/The Day)

Flakes began to fly in the region Thursday night, the region's first brush with inclement wintry conditions of the season.

Snow and sleet were forecast to fall on the region into Friday morning, dumping up to 1 to 3 inches on the shoreline and 2 to 5 inches inland, according to meteorologist Gary Lessor.

The National Weather Service was predicting even more snow: a possible 2 to 4 inches in New London and a possible 3 to 7 inches of snow and sleet in Norwich.

The National Weather Service also predicted "brief minor flooding of the most vulnerable locations near the waterfront and shoreline" in southern New London County overnight and into Friday morning.

Accidents were frequent Thursday evening, but Connecticut State Police said they were mostly single-car spinouts and nothing serious. With icy conditions, Route 214 in Ledyard temporarily was closed between Whalehead Road and Route 117, following what Ledyard police called a minor accident.

In East Lyme, police Chief Michael Finkelstein said about 8:15 p.m. that there had been about seven accidents — all minor fender-benders rather than anything serious, and mostly on the main state roads.

The snow and sleet was expected to begin turning over to sleet by 9 p.m. on the shoreline and by 11 p.m. inland, according to the weather projections by Lessor, a meteorologist and assistant director with The Weather Center at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.

The storm potentially could bring up to 0.2 inch of ice inland and minor icing at the shore, he said. By midnight, parts of the shoreline were expected to have changed to rain and inland areas were forecast to see sleet and freezing rain, Lessor said. In the pre-dawn hours on Friday, it could become light precipitation, he said. 

Light rain was expected for Friday morning, and it will be partly sunny Friday afternoon, he said.

A National Weather Service advisory told people to expect slippery and hazardous road conditions that would affect the Thursday evening commute and winds that could take down tree branches. The advisory issued for southern New London County, as well as southern Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and Westchester Counties, was in effect from 2 to 11 p.m. Thursday.

"A Winter Weather Advisory means that periods of snow, sleet or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties," the notice stated. "Expect slippery roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving."

The region was expected to see overnight wind gusts of mostly 15 to 25 mph, though at times gusts could reach up to 35 to 45 mph. Isolated power outages were possible, though widespread outages were not expected, Lessor said.

Day Staff Writer Erica Moser contributed to this report.

k.drelich@theday.com

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