NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Emergency crews and residents struggled Sunday to clear roadways and sidewalks from a storm that rampaged through the Northeast, dumping more than 3 feet of snow in some areas and bringing howling winds that knocked out power to hundreds of thousands.
As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, President Barack Obama on Sunday morning signed a federal emergency declaration for the state of Connecticut one day after Gov. Dannel Malloy asked for the designation.
The declaration authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate the storm relief effort.
According to a White House news release, “Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding. This emergency assistance will be provided for a period of 48 hours.”
Connecticut was hit hardest in the Tri-State Area, with a reading in Shelton showing 40 inches of snow fell.
“This declaration will provide much needed assistance to the state and our towns and cities as we continue to recover from this historic winter storm,” said Malloy in a news release. “While the ban on travel has been lifted, we are continuing to urge residents to stay off the roads, if at all possible. This is particularly true for tractor trailers. Every time someone gets stuck, it is preventing plows from doing their jobs.”
Meanwhile, Malloy asked all nonessential Connecticut state employees to stay home Monday, with the exception of evening and midnight shift workers.
At a news conference Sunday evening, Malloy said the move was deemed necessary because “we want to hold down traffic through tomorrow so we can make that much more progress.”
Further, Malloy said, many municipalities are behind in cleaning up, and “we don’t want to contribute to their difficulties.”
Malloy also advised that private employers in Connecticut should do their part to keep motorists off the roads.
“If your corporation has a policy of allowing people to work at home, this is an occasion to do that,” Malloy said, adding that it would keep traffic down on the roads and “benefit the entire state.”
Connecticut State Police on Sunday urged commuters to carpool to work Monday morning since many parking spots are still buried under snow.
Malloy also issued a warning for motorists, as rain and freezing rain are expected Monday.
“We have piled snow up. Once that gets wert and it freezes, that’s the equivalent of a Jersey bypass” and will inevitably result in spinouts and accidents, Malloy said.
But the state is working hard to clear away all the snow and get the state back in shape. About 65 frontloaders will be released to local communities at the end of business Monday to help clear away the snow, he said.
Life in Connecticut came to a standstill as the snow began falling Friday. A travel ban put the brakes on driving and trains were halted too.
Finally Sunday, Metro-North service to Stamford resumed on a regular schedule, and that ban on driving was lifted. But many cars remained buried.
And for some, digging out was bound to be a bit harder if they parked their car in the streets. Not only did they have to dig out the regular snow, but all of that snow that was compacted against their cars by the plows.
Some streets in Stamford and elsewhere in Connecticut, though plowed, were still covered with a combination of snow and ice.
“It was horrible but it’s good now,” one driver told Gainer. “Everything was slippery, nasty, mushy.”
A snow plow driver in Westport said the snow is so deep in some areas that it’s hard to even see the driveways he’s plowing.
“It’s bad. It’s really bad. It’s maybe 30 inches in some parts, some parts 20 inches,” the driver told WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola.