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Greenwich Imposes Snow Emergency; Winter Storm 'Pax' Has Arrived

Here's your hub for all things snow in Greenwich!

There is a car under all that snow. Photo credit: Barbara Heins.
There is a car under all that snow. Photo credit: Barbara Heins.

Updated: 10:27 a.m., Feb. 13:
Greenwich Library — which planned to open at noon today — will remain closed for the day. All branches, as well as the Perrot Memorial Library in Old Greenwich, are closed.

Also closed for the day: Greenwich YWCA and the Greenwich YMCA. 

Updated: 8:10 a.m., Feb. 13:

The intensity of the snowfall appears to be picking up as are the winds. In western Greenwich, there are about three inches of snow on the ground and at times, wind gusts are blowing snowflakes sideways.

It appears motorists are heeding warnings to stay off the roads. Traffic appears light on a snow-covered Connecticut Turnpike in Greenwich.

Tell us how much snow has fallen in your neighborhood by clicking on the comment button.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced that he has ordered all first and second shift, non-essential state employees to not report to work on Thursday, Feb. 13, in response to winter storm conditions across the state.  State employees are encouraged to contact their supervisors for further guidance.

“As conditions are predicted to intensify throughout the day, we are ordering all first and second shift, non-essential state employees to stay home today.  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 harm’s way. With heavy snow falling across the state and forecast to continue throughout the day, I am asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel."

Updated: 10 p.m., Feb. 12:
Here is the Town of Greenwich snow emergency statement:

"
This is an important message for all Greenwich residents from the Greenwich Police Department.  Today is Wednesday, February 12th, 2104.  As many of you know, significant snow and ice precipitation is forecast to begin later this evening and continue through tomorrow evening.  In anticipation, the Town of Greenwich Board of Selectmen has unanimously voted to declare a Snow Emergency effective at 6:00 pm today.  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 streets.  Vehicles in violation will be subject to ticketing and immediate towing.  If you are unsure if your vehicle is parked on a Snow Emergency street, a full list can be viewed at the Town of Greenwich website here.  Vehicles displaced from Snow Emergency streets may be lawfully parked in municipal off-street parking lots until the snow emergency is over. 
 
Even if you do not live or work on a snow emergency street, if you have off-street parking available for your vehicle, you are encouraged to use it during and after the storm.  Snow and ice accumulations from previous storms are already narrowing some roadways.  It is much easier for Public Works to fully clean the street without vehicles parked in their way.  Your cooperation will ensure that road crews can keep all streets open for emergency First Responder vehicle traffic.

Further, with all of the winter weather and cold temperatures many fire hydrants are becoming obstructed under unmelted snow and ice.  The Town is encouraging those who have a fire hydrant on or near their property to help keep it visible and accessible.  Ready access to water for firefighting can be a true lifesaver when seconds count.  

The latest predictions indicate that we should receive at least six and as many as fourteen inches of additional snow accumulation over the next 24 to 36 hours.  Icing conditions on walkways, roads, trees and power lines may become problematic especially late in the day tomorrow.  Obviously, residents should restrict travel during the storm only to essential trips.

Additional staffing has been added to Public Works road crews and to Greenwich's First Responder agencies.  The Town of Greenwich is fully prepared for the coming winter storm event.  You can best help us by remembering to move vehicles from snow emergency routes, keeping vehicles off of non-snow emergency streets as well if possible, and making sure that fire hydrants are clear of snow and ice.  During the coming storm, please stay indoors, stay warm and stay safe."

Updated: 7:24 p.m., Feb. 12:
Metro-North Railroad is adjusting its schedules during the storm.

For Thursday, Feb. 13, Metro-North will operate reduced service due to the winter storm with some local and express trains that serve adjacent stations being combined and making additional stops. See details at http://tinyurl.com/n2dkpw5 . See the schedules page at http://tinyurl.com/6akjw for train times.

This service plan represents 75% of our regular service and is based on projected lower ridership and our efforts to minimize the effects of the storm on our equipment and infrastructure. The combined trains were chosen to minimize customer impacts and to get customers to their destination within 10-15 minutes of their normal time.

Also check the www.mta.info/mnr or news media for updates, listen for station announcements and download the Metro-North Train Time App for iPhone and Android users.

Updated: 7:10 p.m., Feb. 12:

In advance of the storm: 
Department of Motor Vehicles tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 13, is cancelling all road test appointments.  Tests will resume on Friday, Feb. 14, with the next scheduled appointments unless further cancellations are announced. The cancellation is due to poor and slippery driving conditions from expected snow. Anyone with a scheduled road test can call DMV to choose a new date. The numbers to call are 860-263-5700 if someone is within the Hartford area and toll-free 800-842-8222 for those outside the Hartford area.

Drivers of commercial and passenger vehicles are reminded about the requirement to remove snow and ice from hoods, trunks and roofs or face fines ranging from $75 to $1,250. Operators of commercial vehicles and passenger cars and trucks who drive a vehicle with accumulated snow and ice can be fined $75. However, the law calls for stiffer penalties when there’s personal or property damage from the flying elements.

In those instances the driver of a commercial vehicle faces a fine up to $1,250 and a passenger car or small truck driver can be fined up to $1,000. Drivers are exempt from the fines when the snow, sleet and freezing rain begins or continues while the vehicle is traveling. Parked vehicles are also exempt from the required removal of ice and snow.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has ordered a delayed opening for state offices on Thursday morning until 10 a.m. for all nonessential state employees. For further updates, state employees should continue monitoring local media as well as the website of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, where they can locate an “Early Release/Late Openings/Closures” button.
 
"Based on the information we have right now, I am going to delay the opening of state offices for nonessential state employees until 10:00am tomorrow,” said Governor Malloy. “I am going to convene an early morning call with emergency management officials tomorrow and, at that point, determine if additional delays or possibly a full closure are necessary.”
  
In addition, Malloy instituted a ban on tandem trucks – i.e. double tractor-trailers – on primary and secondary roads effective at 4 a.m. Thursday.

Original story: 5:01 p.m., Feb. 12.
Greenwich officials have declared a snow emergency effective at 6 p.m. Wednesday as winter storm "Pax" is expected to drop up to a foot of snow and ice on the region, beginning after midnight.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for overnight Thursday — along with a coastal flooding hazard — and the private schools in Greenwich have cancelled classes for Thursday, Feb. 13. A snow emergency means parking is banned from major arteries throughout town and the list of those streets can be found here.

In a reverse 911 call, Greenwich Police Capt. Mark Kordick advised residents who don't live on a snow emergency route and have access to off-street parking, to keep their cars off the streets. He said many roads remain narrow and clogged with ice-encrusted snowbanks from the Feb. 5 snowstorm.

Kordick echoed a plea from Greenwich fire officials earlier this week for residents to help dig out fire hydrants that are buried in snow.

So children will be able to sleep in and get a jump start on their mid-winter or President's weekend breaks that already had been scheduled to begin Friday, Feb. 14. Classes are cancelled at Whitby School, Greenwich Academy, Brunswick School, Convent of the Sacred Heart, The Stanwich School and Greenwich Country Day School. Whitby School issued a statement that Thursday classes are cancelled and school officials will decide on Thursday on whether there will be class on Friday.

The Boys & Girls Club Greenwich also canceled its Thursday programs and will announce later on Thursday whether the facility will open on Friday. As of 5:15 p.m., the Greenwich Library announced that it would delay its opening, along with the Byram Shubert and Cos Cob libraries until noon Thursday, said First Selectman Peter Tesei.

The town-wide cancellations are due to the impending arrival of winter storm "Pax," that could drop between eight and 12 inches of snow in town, according to the National Weather Service. 

Tesei said the impact on Greenwich will vary. "There's such a disparity between the backcountry and teh shore. The concern (is) icing — the weight of it is concerning."

Connecticut Light & Power issued a statement that crews are on standby to respond to outages and downed lines.

In addition to the winter storm watch, the NWS issued a coastal flooding hazard statement warning that the Thursday night high tide cycle will be two to two-and-a-half feet above the astronomical tide.

Tesei said that even though the town has spent all of its $925,000 snow removal budget for the year, Department of Public Works crews are at the ready to begin removing snow after midnight Wednesday. "The budget is for 30  inches of snow and I believe we're at 51 inches so far," Tesei said. "We'll wait until the end of February and then have to go for an appropriation (from the Board of Estimate and Taxation) to cover the costs.

Those crews have spent the last several days, "removing as much snow as they can from out of densely populated neighborhoods. They're dumping it at Grass Island and Holly Hill," Tesei said.

Here's the weather's service's forecast:
  • Tonight: Snow likely, mainly after 3am. Cloudy, with a low around 21. Southeast wind 5 to 9 mph becoming northeast after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
  • Thursday: Snow before noon, then snow and sleet between noon and 2pm, then rain and snow after 2pm. High near 33. Breezy, with a northeast wind 13 to 23 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow and sleet accumulation of 5 to 9 inches possible.
  • Thursday Night: Rain, snow, and sleet, becoming all snow after 3am. Low around 28. Blustery, with a north wind 15 to 23 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow and sleet accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.
  • Friday: Partly sunny, with a high near 39. Breezy, with a west wind 14 to 20 mph.
  • Friday Night: A chance of snow after 9pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 24. Northwest wind 8 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
  • Saturday:  A chance of snow before 1pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 33. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
  • Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 11.
  • Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 24.

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