DANBURY, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — A travel ban was lifted in Connecticut after 24 hours of orders to stay off the roads, but cleanup was far from over Saturday following the blizzard that left at least five people dead, and more than 3 feet of snow in some parts of the state.
On Saturday night, Gov. Dannel Malloy submitted a request for a presidential emergency declaration.
“As we continue with the recovery from this historic winter storm, I am asking the federal government to provide us assistance with this process,” Malloy said. “If granted, this declaration would provide much needed help to our state.”
“Stay off the roads,” is still the message in the Nutmeg State. Parts of Connecticut were covered in dozens of inches of snow early Saturday, as a travel ban remained in effect until being lifted at 4 p.m.
A state of emergency remains in effect statewide.
A woman using a snowblower Friday evening was apparently hit by a car and killed in Prospect, Malloy said. The woman was believed to be 81 years old, but her identity was not released.
Also, a 73-year-old man was found dead of unknown causes in his driveway in Danbury, and a 49-year-old man apparently died while digging out his truck in Shelton and had to be taken away on a sled pulled by a snowmobile, according to a Hartford Courant report.
No information was immediately released on the other two deaths.
At a news conference late Saturday morning, Gov. Malloy said 270 National Guard troops were pressed into duty to assist with the blizzard aftermath.
There are many roads that are impassable or otherwise dangerous due to snow drifts or stalled cars, Malloy said.
“While we are lifting the ban on travel this afternoon at 4 p.m., I still want to urge residents to stay off the roads if at all possible,” Malloy later added in a news release. “Crews are out clearing roadways as we speak, but the fact is we are going to feel the impact of this storm for some time. The longer we can keep traffic out of town centers and off of our highways, the more effective our recovery effort will be. ”
Malloy said having cars on the roads only serves to slow down the clean-up effort.
“They have to stop or move around a car,” Malloy said.
As of Saturday morning, Connecticut Light & Power reported 37,214 customers without power. That number was revised around 7 p.m. to a little more than 34,000, Malloy said.
The largest number of customers without power are in the southeast portion of the state, and CL&P has amassed resources in that part of the state.
CL&P officials said due to the high winds, they were not immediately going to send crews to restore power.
Meanwhile, the danger of traveling in Connecticut was so severe Saturday that non-essential ambulance calls were to be handled at the discretion of the agency that would be dispatching the ambulances.
If the non-essential callers could not be reached, the ambulances could choose to not respond immediately. But crews possibly could get to some callers on four-by-fours, Malloy said.
Malloy also advised residents to keep vents on the sides of houses clear since if they become blocked with snow, carbon monoxide could back into the house.
Anyone with a hydrant on his or her property was also asked to dig it out so that a response can be affected if a fire breaks out.
Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said there were concerns that the area could see widespread flooding.
“Unfortunately, we have a little water over the road near the shore areas,” Joseloff told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau. “But generally, the flooding at high tide was minimal. We’re very grateful for that.”
As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, the snow had stopped by 7 a.m. in Danbury. But parts of central Connecticut were still seeing narrow bands of very intense snow as a result of the historic blizzard.
“This was like ’78, back when I was 13, we had 3 feet of snow,” one man said in Ridgefield.
Totals in some areas were staggering – 38 inches in Milford, 30 in Bridgeport, and 20.5 in Danbury. More than 40 inches fell in Shelton, just west of New Haven.
Shelton residents said not since the blizzard of 1978 had they seen so much snow in one storm. One man went so far as to use a John Deere bucket loader to shovel out his car, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
Meanwhile, some people were disobeying the travel ban.
“We have pulled a few people over and, obviously, some people didn’t get the word or weren’t sure or didn’t know. We understand that, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to be able to maintain the safety of our residents and the safety of our work crews and that means people got to stay off the roads right now,” Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton told Schneidau.
Boughton said despite winds of up to 65 mph, only two power outages were reported in all of Danbury.
The next big task for the city will be plowing the parking lots of the 20 Danbury public schools in time for school on Monday, Schneidau reported.
In Fairfield, the gusty winds continued to blow ice crystals and snow every which way.
The top layer of the knee-high snow was in constant motion due to the wind, WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reported.
Town officials said they need front-end loaders and earth-moving equipment to help get rid of the 30 inches of snow and to free police and fire vehicles as well as snow plows.
Malloy declared a state of emergency and deployed National Guard troops around the state on Friday afternoon to help with any rescues and other emergencies during the historic storm.
Young reported most were heeding the advice not to get on the roads. But many motorists didn’t have a choice, as their cars were left buried.
Widespread power outages were also seen, particularly in shoreline areas in Litchfield County and parts of Fairfield County, Young reported. Downed trees were largely to blame.
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