FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – After a busy Wednesday of making preparations, Fairfield County residents are awakening Thursday to a major Nor’easter expected to include snow, sleet and freezing rain along with strong winds, resulting in treacherous travel and possible power outages .
The system should make its powerful presence felt for at least 24 hours, starting in the early morning hours of Thursday. A Winter Storm Warning, which went into effect at midnight, will last until 6 a.m. Friday.
A total of 10 to 14 inches of snow is expected to fall across all of Fairfield County, according to the National Weather Service. Those totals were increased late Wednesday.
Some areas farther north and west could see even more snowfall while areas closer to the coast are expected to see a changeover to rain during the day and less snow.
Snow could be heavy at times Thursday morning, falling at the rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour in some spots. The storm is expected to wreak havoc with morning travel and has already resulted in the closures of schools, businesses and stores across the area.
Temperatures will be in the upper 20s to low 30s, with northeast winds of 10 to 20 mph and gusts of up to 30 mph.
But the snow will change over to freezing rain and sleet around midday and then turn back to snow by evening. The buildup of snow and ice combined with strong winds could lead to downed power lines and trees.
Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating said they are prepared to respond quickly to any power outages caused by fallen trees and wires due to buildup of ice and strong winds.
The storm will cause treacherous traffic conditions. Metro-North announced Wednesday that it will be operating on a reduced train schedule Thursday.
The state Department of Transportation has 632 trucks ready to go with plows and salt to clear the state's roadways along with 200 contractors on notice to be ready to help, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Wednesday.
A ban on all tandem-trailer trucks was put in place at 4 a.m. Thursday for all primary and secondary roads in Connecticut, Malloy said.
The cost of clearing the roads and highways costs the state about $100,000 an hour, he said.
State workers were told not to report until 10 a.m., and jurors will not report to Connecticut court houses on Thursday at all.
There is a gale warning in effect as well for Long Island Sound.
Periods of snow should continue until early Friday, but the melting may begin with sunny skies and a high in the upper 30s in the forecast.