As Blizzard Juno continues to barrel across the Northeast, preparations for a storm of “historic” proportions are ongoing in the Elm City and Hartford.
Gov. Dannel Malloy declared a state of emergency across Connecticut Monday morning, mandating a travel ban across all roads that took effect at 9 p.m. Monday night. The blizzard warning, issued by the National Weather Service, is in effect until Wednesday. The storm is expected to bring 24 to 36 inches of snow, reaching 40 inches in some areas under warning, and will continue through Tuesday at midnight in the New Haven area. In addition to heavy snow, the blizzard will feature winds that could reach up to 60 miles per hour.
“People need to take this storm seriously,” Malloy said in a press release. “If current predictions are accurate, we will need people to stay off the roads so that emergency personnel and utility crews can get to the places they need to get to, and to make sure that our plows can keep critical roadways clear.”
Posts on Malloy’s Twitter account reminded followers that breaking the ban would risk lives, including those of first responders.
In New Haven specifically, at around 1 p.m., Mayor Toni Harp announced a citywide parking ban scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Monday evening and last through noon on Thursday. The city has arranged for free alternative parking at New Haven Public Schools and city lots and reduced-fare parking at the Temple Street Garage.
New Haven Director of Transportation Doug Hausladen ’04 said that, as the storm may persist through midnight Tuesday , he expects that city will need multiple days to dig out of this storm. The parking ban will give the city crew 36 hours to get all the streets cleared after the snow has stopped.
“New Haven is well-prepared for a coordinated, comprehensive response to this snowstorm, and that response will be all-the-more effective with cooperation from city residents,” Harp said in a press release.
Earlier this month, New Haven received a shipment of nine new Class 8 heavy-duty snow trucks that will join the city’s existing fleet. The city’s equipment, along with several private contractors’ trucks, will cover 22 clearing routes.
Deputy Director of Operations of the Emergency Operations Center Rick Fontana said that, as of Monday afternoon, many trucks were already all out on the streets already plowing snow. He added that even though the snow was minimal on Monday afternoon, the trucks were doing some sanding and salting to prevent snow from accumulating for the longest time possible.
“All of the staff has been deployed for public works and we will be ticketing and towing cars off streets to give the trucks room so they can progress,” Hausladen said.
American Medical Response, which provides ambulances for the city, has stationed its vehicles at several fire stations around the city instead of at Yale-New Haven Hospital to reduce response time in cases of medical emergencies, City Hall spokesperson Laurence Grotheer said.
“The mayor’s advice is to stay safe and stay home unless absolutely necessary,” he said. “It’s important that the streets remain clear to accommodate snow trucks.”
Public transportation options have also shut down due to the blizzard. Grand Central Terminal closed at midnight Monday, while Bradley International Airport has been closed since 7 p.m. on Monday. Metro-North Railroad suspended service at 11 p.m., while CT Transit buses also suspended service at 7:30 p.m.
During an emergency briefing at 6 p.m. yesterday, Malloy requested that people stay off of limited access highways so that roads would remain clear for emergency responders. He also said that state troopers had already responded to over 600 calls at the time, while 400 National Guard officers were stationed for response across the state.
“It is imperative to take this storm very seriously,” Hausladen said. “The governor and the mayor declared a state of emergency; this storm is historic in its nature and also life threatening.”
Malloy said that he would next update the public around noon on Tuesday.
Daniela Brighenti contributed reporting.