FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The fifth major storm of 2014 left most of Fairfield County looking like a ghost town Thursday, covering the area with nearly a foot of snow and ice.
All day, snow, sleet and freezing rain fell across the county, with snow piling up at an alarming rate. Few people ventured out, unless they had to, leaving the cities and towns largely deserted as residents hunkered down in their homes.
Even more heavy and blowing snow was expected overnight into Friday morning. An additional accumulation of 3 to 8 inches of snow was possible, along with more ice from sleet and freezing rain.
Up to 10 to 22 inches of snow could be on the ground by the time the storm stops in Fairfield County. Snow could fall 1 to 3 inches per hour overnight with winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. Rumbles of thunder were also possible. The Winter Storm Advisory remains in effect until 6 a.m. Friday.
The major nor'easter, which covered a swath of the East Coast from the Carolinas to Massachusetts, began dropping snow before sunrise Thursday in Fairfield County. The heavy, early morning snow closed schools, gyms and libraries as well as many stores and businesses. The state's colleges and universities even gave students a day off.
In fact, the few people spotted out and about on Thursday included snowplow drivers, police and joy-riders. Here and there in neighbors, some residents ventured out to begin shoveling.
"I just want to stay ahead of it," said one Danbury resident. "I can't believe even more is on the way tonight."
Here is a sample of snow totals from the middle of the storm from the National Weather Service:
- Fairfield: 14 inches at 1 p.m.
- Darien: 13 inches at 4 p.m.
- New Canaan: 12.8 inches at 12:25 p.m.
- Weston: 12.5 inches at 12:30 p.m.
- Norwalk: 12 inches at noon
- Greenwich: 11 inches at 11:45 a.m.
- Danbury: 9 inches at 5:30 p.m.
- Stamford: 8 inches at 10:25 a.m.
As a result of the heavy snow and many closures, traffic was slow moving but light on the state's highways. Metro-North reported that ridership was only a third of its normal numbers, and the commuter railroad cut its already reduced service to hourly trains as the storm progressed.
Gov. Dannel Malloy said there were 800 calls for road assistance Thursday, with 60 accidents on state roads, six of which had injuries.
"Comparing this storm to the last snow incident, the numbers are lower," Malloy said of the accidents. "People are heeding the warning to stay off the roads -- or maybe they are getting better at handling the conditions."
He had no estimate of the all economic impact of the recent storms on Connecticut but said the national estimate was at $50 billion.
"We will see an impact reflected in sales tax, in hotel tax revenue," Malloy said. "We won't know exactly how much for a while."