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UPDATE: Greenwich Snow Emergency Remains in Effect As Storm Cleanup Continues

Schools are closed on Friday and here is a hub of all Greenwich storm-related stories and information.

The dairy aisle of Stop & Shop on West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich. Photo credit: Barbara Heins.
The dairy aisle of Stop & Shop on West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich. Photo credit: Barbara Heins.

Greenwich Patch will post updates to this "hub" article throughout Winter Storm Hercules, including how things are going in town and links to all separate articles published on the site.

Update: 12:35 p.m., Jan. 3:
Clearing Greenwich roads of the eight to 10 inches of snow that fell around town is proving to be easier than expected because residents are heeding snow emergency regulations.

Greenwich Police Lt. Robert Berry said early Friday afternoon, "I think most people followed the good advice given the snow emergency. The DPW is doing a fantastic job of clearing the roads," Berry said. "We haven't had to town anyone. Officers are just contacting car owners who are moving their vehicles."

Despite those efforts, Berry said residents should expect the snow emergency to remain in effect through the night. "They are anticipating needing through the night" for road clearing operations, Berry said. 

"Primary roads are in decent shape. We're starting to take the chains off our cars, except for the cars that are deep in the backcountry," Berry said. Roads in the northern sectors of town are passable but will need additional cleanup to return to normal, Berry added.

He also cautioned that residents protect themselves from the bitter cold which is magnified by strong winds.

Here is the latest forecast from the National Weather Service:
  • Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around -1. Wind chill values as low as -8. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light north after midnight.
  • Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 26. Calm wind becoming southwest 5 to 9 mph in the morning.
  • Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 20. Southwest wind 5 to 7 mph.
  • Sunday: A slight chance of snow, freezing rain, and sleet before noon, then a chance of rain and snow between noon and 2pm, then a chance of rain after 2pm. Patchy fog. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 41. West wind around 6 mph becoming south in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
  • Sunday Night: Rain likely. Areas of fog. Otherwise, cloudy, with a low around 34. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Update: 6 a.m., Jan. 3:
The National Weather Service has issued a coastal flood advisory that will remain in effect until 2 p.m. Jan. 3. The winter storm warning remains in effect until 1 p.m. with continued snowfall and strong winds up to 25 mph and gust of 35 mph causing near whiteout conditions.

The wind chills will be from 10 below to about 20 below zero this morning, increasing to 5 to 10 below zero Friday afternoon. Visibility will be limited to less than a quarter-mile because of the blowing and drifting snow.

I-95 is a virtual ribbon of white with nary the heavy rush hour traffic usually congesting the highway.

According to the Connecticut Light & Power website, there aren't any power outages reported in Greenwich.

The storm has delayed the opening of Greenwich Library until noon Friday and forced the cancellation of the Friday Night Chess Club and the Friday Night Film programs, according to a posting on the library's website.

Metro-North Railroad announced that it will be operating on a Saturday schedule on Friday, Jan. 3, without Shoppers’ Specials service due to the effects of winter storm Hercules.

Update: 10:40 p.m., Jan. 2
Greenwich Public Schools has announced that all schools will be closed Friday, Jan. 3, 2014.

UPDATE 9:43 p.m.

There are several accidents involving tractor-trailers on I-95 in Old Greenwich and Riverside area. Do avoid the area. Greenwich FD and Cos Cob Fire Police Patrol are on the  scene and are talking about partial closures of the  highway, according to emergency radio transmissions. 

Update: 6:15 p.m., Jan. 2:
The first flakes of winter storm Hercules began falling in Greenwich about 5:30 p.m. Thursday and residents made fast work of stockpiling staples in anticipation of the blustery snowfall.

The Stop & Shop on West Putnam Avenue in central Greenwich was stripped bare of bananas, royal gala apples, bottled water, dairy products and most meats, by 5 p.m. Confusion was amplified when the stores fire alarm sounded, prompting employees to usher shoppers outside.

As she waited for the all-clear to reenter the store, Greenwich resident Camille Broderick said she was shopping for foodstuffs for sandwiches. "I'm a southerner, so we hunker down when there's a storm," Broderick said. "I'll be making sandwiches and a pot of soup. There are four football games this weekend."

With the steam of her breath blowing in the frigid wind, Broderick laughed, "I don't like the snow. To me, snowstorm equals 'have to eat.'

It was a busy afternoon for Vlad Nichiforov, owner of Bellmore Wine & Liquor, 380 W. Putnam Ave. "People are stocking up," said Nichiforov, a native of Russia. The predicted 6- to 10-inch snowfall left him nonplussed.

"We get snow that's as high as you," Nichiforov said to this five-foot-five Greenwich Patch editor. "The snow gets so high you can't throw it." Among the big sellers on Thursday — vodka. "It keeps you warm. During World War II, my father was a soldier on the front. They would give them two shots of vodka to help keep them warm," he explained.

If Mother Nature isn't too cruel overnight, Nichiforov said he plans to open his shop at 11 a.m. Friday — "after we shovel the sidewalk."

Original story: 3:47 p.m. Jan. 2

As Greenwich residents coped with the early dismissal of public schools on Thursday, they tried to prepare for the brunt of winter storm 'Hercules' which is expected to bring continued snow later Thursday and overnight into Friday.

The Greenwich Board of Selectmen approved a snow emergency declaration that prohibits vehicles from being parked along snow routes. (For the list of designated snow routes, use this link to the Town of Greenwich website.

Greenwich Police Chief James Heavey said by implementing the snow emergency, highway crews will be better able to clear the streets for emergency responders and for motorists after the storm has ended. "It's a prudent step so that we can recover more quickly," Heavey said.

Heavey said that if any vehicles are found along the snow routes, "Officers will notify the owners, ticket and immediately tow. I would prefer that we don't have to tow."
    He also cautioned residents against making unnecessary trips.

    "Just because you have four-wheel drive, it doesn't mean you have four-wheel brakes. I don't want people out driving to look at the pretty snow or to get their Starbucks," Heavey added.

    In a telephone notification to residents about 1:10 p.m. Thursday, First Selectman Peter Tesei said there will be additional staffing of the town's Department of Public Works highway crews and emergency responder departments — police, fire and emergency medical services. (Tesei's entire message can be found below.)

    Heavey said that during the storm officers usually assigned to the Motorcycle Section and Greenwich Avenue traffic control will be deployed in patrol cars.

    In the event of power outages during expected high winds, the town will open warming centers, Heavey said. The centers will open at the Bendheim Western Greenwich Civic Center, 449 Pemberwick Rd., the Eastern Greenwich Civic Center, 90 Harding Rd. in Old Greenwich, and Police Headquarters, 11 Bruce Pl.

    It was a rolling derby with drivers jockeying for parking in the lots of local supermarkets Thursday afternoon as women with children in tow negotiated crowded store aisles. At the Stop & Shop on West Putnam Avenue, produce, deli items, dairy items, orange juice and bread were popular purchases. 

    At Putnam Shell, owners Judy and Carmen Moretti said they were expecting sales of gas and diesel to pick up once the storm hits. "I'm sold out of bacon and hotdogs. It hasn't been that busy — I don't think people believe there's a storm coming. We sell out of Pepsi and Doritos when it snows," said Judy Moretti.

    Dominick Delfino, owner of Joey B's Famous Chili Hub on River Road Extension in Cos Cob, said he plans to open his restaurant at 3 a.m. Friday so that Greenwich road crews and emergency responders can grab hot coffee and food for the road.

    "People are always telling me 'you should be open, you should be open.' So I'm going to do it this time and if it works out, I'll be open for every storm," said Delfino, who usually opens the eatery at 6 a.m.

    The Greenwich Boys & Girls Club cancelled all programs and are closed Thursday, Jan. 2 and Friday, Jan. 3.

    Here's the latest National Weather Service forecast, which includes a coastal flooding watch from 10 p.m. Jan. 2 until 2 a.m. Jan. 3. 
    • This Afternoon: Snow, mainly after 4pm. High near 30. Northeast wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
    • Tonight: Snow with widespread blowing snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 11. Wind chill values as low as -3. Blustery, with a north wind 16 to 23 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.
    • Friday: Snow likely with widespread blowing snow before 9am, then widespread blowing snow and a slight chance of snow showers between 9am and noon, then widespread blowing snow after noon. Cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 16. Wind chill values as low as -9. Blustery, with a northwest wind 17 to 22 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
    • Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around -2. Wind chill values as low as -12. Northwest wind 5 to 13 mph.
    Here is First Selectman Peter Tesei's message regarding the snow emergency in Greenwich.

    "This is Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei with an important message for all Greenwich residents.  As many of you know, significant snowfall and bitterly cold temperatures are anticipated to occur this evening through Friday morning.  Accordingly, the Town of Greenwich Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to declare a Snow Emergency effective at6:00 pm todayJanuary 2nd, 2014.  The Snow Emergency will remain in effect until cancelled.

    During the period of the Snow Emergency no vehicles are permitted to remain parked, stopped or standing on any Snow Emergency Route.  Vehicles in violation will be subject to ticketing and immediate towing.  If you are unsure if your vehicle is parked on a Snow Emergency Route, a full list of all routes can be viewed at the Town of Greenwich website - www.greenwichct.org.  Vehicles displaced from Snow Emergency Routes may be lawfully parked in municipal off-street parking lots until the snow emergency is over.  Your cooperation will ensure that road crews can keep Snow Emergency Routes open for emergency First Responder vehicle traffic.

    The Town of Greenwich is fully prepared for the coming snow event.  Additional staffing, as appropriate, has been added to Public Works road crews and by Greenwich's emergency responder agencies.  At this time, we anticipate the storm will be a moderate duration event with moderate impact.  Even so, it is imperative that everyone exercise additional caution during the storm, limit travel to only essential trips and dress appropriately for the bitterly cold conditions.

    Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation and best wishes for a safe New Year."

    Related storm stories:

    UPDATE: Greenwich Schools Dismissing Early As Storm Approaches

    Updated List: What Storm Hercules Is Closing (or Not)

    Keepin' It Hot on a 'Chili' Day in Cos Cob


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