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Friday storm notes…

7:15 — If you really, really need to take a train, Metro-North and Amtrak have announced train service reductions as a result of the snow storm. Please check www.mta.info and www.amtrak.com for the latest.

6:30 — At least five inches of snow have accumulated so far, but it’s difficult to get an accurate measure because of the wind, which is varying the surface amounts.

6 p.m.— Here are the latest National Weather Service maps showing maximum expected snowfall and maximum range of wind gusts for this storm.

4:45 p.m. SUMMARY— About four inches of snow have fallen on Ridgefield since the storm began around 6:30 this morning. A half dozen auto accidents have been reported — several versus utility poles — but there have been no injuries. All power is on in Ridgefield, and only 417 CL&P customers in Connecticut are without power (280 of them in New Canaan due to an auto accident).  The top wind gust so far today at the Ridgefield Academy weather station on West Mountain was 32 mph. Many facilities in Ridgefield are closed, and most events postponed or canceled for tonight.  Gov. Malloy has closed all limited access highways in the state until further notice. Metro North is planning to continue to run trains at least hourly on the Harlem and New Haven lines until at least 1 a.m. Ridgefield highway crews are continuing to plow, and extra police and fire personnel are on duty. WTNH in New Haven is forecasting 10 to 16 inches total for the storm in Ridgefield.

Max Butler, Declan Seymour, Teague Seymour, Luke Faillaci and Crawford Butler enjoyed the day’s snow at the Veterans Park hill. —Jennie Carr photo

3:40 — Governor Dannel P. Malloy said this afternoon that the ban on motor vehicle travel on limited access highways in the State of Connecticut will begin at 4 p.m.  These prohibitions do not extend to emergency response and recovery vehicles, including public safety vehicles, utility vehicles, and vehicles carrying essential personnel or supplies. “As the weather gets worse over the next few hours, we need to keep the roads clear, so that emergency-related personnel and utility crews can reach those that may need our help,” Governor Malloy said.  “By traveling in these conditions, you are not only putting yourself in danger, but you are potentially risking the lives of first responders, utility workers and other residents. Please be safe.” The travel ban will remain in effect until further notice. The State of Connecticut coordinated the travel ban with Massachusetts and New York.

3:25 — Only 400 CL&P customers in the state are without power at this time. Interestingly, most of them are in nearby New Canaan where a car hit a utility pole, knocking out service for 279 homes. Everyone in Ridgefield is online, CL&P says.

3 — Just a tad over three inches of snow have fallen.

2:15 — Here’s a statement CL&P just issued: “With record-breaking snowfall and high winds predicted, downed tree limbs pose a significant threat to the company’s electric system. Customers are encouraged to prepare for prolonged outages as a result of the storm. CL&P is pre-staging employees and materials in locations across the state, and is preparing vehicles by adding tire chains, to travel safely across slippery roads in poor visibility conditions. In addition to CL&P’s approximately 400 line workers, hundreds of outside line workers are arriving to provide assistance, with hundreds more expected tomorrow.”

1:30 — Just about two inches of snow have fallen, but it’s coming down a little faster and thicker now.

1 — Town highway trucks have switched to plowing instead of “salting.”

12:55 — In his CTAlert phone message to residents, First Selectman Rudy Marconi said this afternoon that additional police and fire personnel are on duty, and that the highway department is at full staffing.

12:40 — One car into a pole on Ridgebury Road near Turner. No reported injuries.

12:20 — Statement from the first selectman’s office: “As the snow falls and we are told to expect yet another historic confluence of storm elements coming together, First Selectman Rudy Marconi would like residents to know that our Emergency Operations Team is prepared to assist residents in coping with the potential problems that may ensue.  This blizzard is expected to produce white-out conditions with high winds that have the potential to cause power outages and driving challenges.”  He asked residents to stay off roads,  and said, “If you have a cell phone, confirm that you will receive Town emergency Everbridge notices by logging onto www.ctalert.gov or follow directions on www.ridgefieldct.org  to update your profile information. As always, please call 911 in an emergency.   All town highway and emergency operations personnel are standing by.”

11:40 — One-car accident near 90 Golf Lane. No injuries reported.

11:03 — Here’s what the governor’s press secretary just issued: “Governor Dannel P. Malloy will declare a state of emergency in preparation for the coming blizzard which is anticipated to heavily impact the state Friday and Saturday.  In addition, the Governor announced that limited access highways may be subject to closure as early as noon.  The Governor is asking all residents to limit nonessential travel. ‘People need to take this storm seriously.  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,’ Governor Malloy said.  ‘Please stay home once the weather gets bad except in the case of real emergency.'”

11 — Based on the governor’s recommendation, First Selectman Rudy Marconi is urging Ridgefielders to stay off the roads.

10:40 — Wendy Lionetti at the first selectman’s office says: “Due to the fact that the governor has stated that state highways may be closed as early as 12 today, town hall and all other town buildings will be closing at 11 AM.”  That includes the Recreation Center.

10:15 — CL&P crew on Silver Spring Road says there is nothing they can do at the moment about fixing the brace pole, which will have to be replaced at some point in the future. The pole was split in a crash. It is not affecting power service on Silver Spring Road.

10:10 — Temperatures getting gradually warmer; 32 in some parts of town. About a half inch of snow has fallen. Snow very light; radar shows most of the action east of us. Very little traffic on the roads, but there are still people driving too fast for conditions (three have cracked up so far). Top wind gust at Ridgefield Academy weather station has been 28 mph.

9:12 — Town hall is closing at noon today. The crash on Silver Spring Road has split a pole that supports a utility pole. CL&P has been called. The split pole reportedly went into a windshield, but there are no injuries.

9 — One car into a utility pole near #410 Silver Spring Road.

8:45 — Apparently no injuries in Branchville Road crash. Area towns are reporting accidents as roads cover over. There’s one with injures on Route 107 and Umpawaug Road in Redding.

8:38 — A car has crashed into a tree on Route 102, Branchville Road, near Nutmeg Ridge/Old Branchville hill and curve. Police, fire and ambulance responding.

7:55 — A reminder that it is against the law to park a car anywhere on the travel portion of a town road when there’s a winter storm. Highway trucks are already reporting cars parked on the roads. The police can have them towed.

7:51 — Fine snow has begun falling at a good clip and is sticking to surfaces. Temperature is 27 degrees. Top gust 26 mph.

7:50 —Maps4News sends along this map, showing the blizzard forecast. 

7:45 — Town highway department trucks are out, “pretreating” the roads with the sugar-based replacement for salt they’ve been using the past few years. It seems to do a very good job of keeping roads free of snow, but may face a big challenge today and tonight.

7:36 — Adding the Ridgefield Library to the list of closings for today.

7:35 — Metro North says: “The predicted severity of the winter storm for today, February 8th will require Metro-North to change its scheduled service. These changes are in anticipation of providing the best service to ensure your safety.  There will be extra trains during the early afternoon to help customers return home. This schedule will result in reduced service during the PM peak. Train combinations and cancelations are possible at any time, but increase in likelihood as the evening progresses to prevent trains from becoming stranded during the storm. For more details, visit bit.ly/S5Cxrf

7:30 — Bluebirds joining others in chowing down at the feeders.

7 — Light mist instead of flurries. Top gust has been 22 mph.

6:45 — Not much traffic in town. Many people seem to be planning to work at home today. And, of course, there’s no school.

Friday, 6:15 a.m. — First flurries seen, plus a few wind gusts. Breeze is from the east, and moist, so that in the village, you can clearly hear the train whistle on the Danbury line five miles to the east. Even the engines are loud.

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