Snowfall totals for southwestern Connecticut
The first measurable snow of the season fell quickly and heavily Thursday, leaving commuters and first responders to deal with the mess.
As the storm neared, predictions for snowfall totals ranged from a dusting to 6 inches or more for places farther away from the coast. When the storm arrived, at around 4 p.m., the pace of snowfall was quicker than many anticipated.
Spotters working with the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network measured snowfalls up to around nine inches in parts of southwestern Connecticut.
Towns like Greenwich and Stamford hovered around the 4-inch mark, while further east towns like Darien, Danbury and New Canaan saw totals closer to 6 inches. Further upstate, snowfall totals varied — trained spotters in Waterbury reported around 9.3 inches, while New Haven, North Haven and Hamden reported totals between 4.5 and 6.5 inches.
The snow caused slippery roads, delays and slow-downs on every highway west of Hartford by 6 p.m., with top speeds hovering around 25 mph.
In total, state police responded to 1,341 snow-related calls for service, two of which were accidents with serious injuries. Of those calls, 230 were for accidents, ten of which involved minor injuries.
In Stamford, at peak rush hour, around 5:15 p.m., the Merritt Parkway north was closed between Exits 35 and 36 because of, “many motor vehicle accidents and disabled vehicles,” according to the state Department of Transportation. That closure was still in effect more than an hour later.
Local law enforcement agencies were seeing crashes, including in Norwalk, where police reported an uptick in collisions around 5:30 p.m.
In smaller towns like Wilton, police responded to about 21 disabled vehicles during the duration of the storm. Due to the conditions, some of the vehicles had to be abandoned.
“We are still currently working on removing some of those vehicles from the road,” said police spokesman Capt. Robert Cipolla around 7 a.m.
In Greenwich, the town came to a halt soon after the heavy, wet snow began falling as drivers, struggling to see, slowed to a crawl.
“The downtown area is in complete gridlock,” Greenwich Emergency Management Director Dan Warzoha said, adding the state had failed to pretreat the Post Road, for which it is responsible, making it treacherous to drive on.
“This is the first storm of the season so maybe people didn’t take it seriously enough,” Warzoha said.
Along the coast in Bridgeport, where forecasts called for 1 to 3 inches of snow before a changeover to rain, there were accidents galore.
“As soon as the snow started, we started to get these accidents starting to pop up,” said Scott Appleby, Bridgeport’s director of director of emergency management and homeland security.
By late Thursday night, the snow transitioned into rain later, as predicted by the NWS.
“Temperatures are hovering around freezing or below, so road conditions will be hazardous,” the weather service said.