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Hundreds Crash, Thousands Powerless In CT

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I-95 - Greenwich, CT - Feb 2, 2011 - Photo: CT DOT

I-95 – Greenwich, CT – Feb 2, 2011 – Photo: CT DOT

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HARTFORD, CT (AP / WCBS 880) - The latest winter storm, this one packing snow and ice in some parts of Connecticut, has caused numerous accidents, thousands of power outages and prompted the governor to order nonessential state employees to delay their arrival to work.

SEE: Ice Storm Photos

Gov. Malloy with WCBS 880’s Pat Carroll and Michael Wallace

“This has been quite the experience,” Gov. Dan Malloy told WCBS Newsradio 880 on Wednesday. “I got sworn-in on January 5th… but we’re holding our own.”

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State police reported about 145 accidents since the latest storm hit Tuesday but no serious injuries. Lt. J. Paul Vance said Wednesday roads are deceptively dangerous, appearing clear when there is ice.

Vance said authorities have received 1,700 calls for assistance, ranging from drivers running out of gas to vehicles stuck on snowbanks.

Gov. Malloy ordered nonessential state employees to report to work at 10:30 a.m.

The National Weather Service has issued an ice storm warning until noon Wednesday for coastal and eastern Connecticut, with up to an inch of ice expected by midday. The warning extends until 6 p.m. farther inland.

As of 11:30 a.m., Connecticut Light & Power reported 5,790 power outages, more than half in Norwalk. United Illuminating reported thousands without power as well, including more than 1,500 in Bridgeport.

Malloy says he’s worried that ice added to already fallen snow could lead to more roof collapses across Connecticut. He says emergency officials are on standby to respond.

As much as 8 inches of snow was added Tuesday to several feet that accumulated in January. Many school districts already had canceled classes.

Connecticut is banning tandem trailer trucks on highways as forecasts call for ice that poses hazards to motorists. The ban will and end 4 p.m. Wednesday.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau on the truck ban

Malloy said New York and Connecticut are working together in imposing the tandem truck ban. He says truckers as far south as Virginia are being been notified electronically.

Malloy says the ban is limited to tandem trucks but that could change.

The state said despite the ice, there were no major problems reported Wednesday morning.

“We’re hearing of scattered power outages, but other than that, we’re not aware of any significant issues,” said Rich Harris, a spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

Metro-North was operating on a regular weekday schedule Wednesday morning, but customers traveling on the New Haven Line should expect crowded trains and delays due to severe and ongoing weather-related equipment shortages, officials said.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau on Metro-North’s effort to keep the trains rolling along amid the wintry conditions

Middletown authorities say the third floor of a building on Main Street has collapsed, but two workers managed to escape immediately before the collapse.

Acting Fire Marshal Al Santostefano told The Associated Press the entire third floor of the building came off, littering the street with bricks and snapping two trees. He said two workers fled when they heard a cracking sound and firefighters narrowly escaped injury.

Santostefano says he believes no one else was in the building and no one was injured. He compared the site to a “bomb scene.”

Adjacent buildings were evacuated.

The incident occurred as another winter storm put more weight on buildings. Santostefano says the building, which includes an accounting firm and stores on the first floor, has a flat roof.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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