[UPDATED] 10:30 p.m.
The snow has picked up in intensity and West Hartford Director of Public Works John Phillips said at 9:30 p.m. that it was coming down as hard as he had ever seen.
"We continue to plow – plow – and plow. The snow is falling faster than we can keep up with. It really is coming down as hard as I have ever seen. The wind is strong directly out of the north. Snow drifts are beginning to develop all over town. We expect these conditions to exist for the next several hours," said Phillips. Visibility is no more than 100 feet, he said.
Phillips said that plows have been through every street and neighborhood at least twice. Plowing will continue overnight, although crews will be taking safety breaks to combat fatigue.
According to Phillips, the MDC is actively working a large water main break on New Park Ave. and Oakwood Ave.
At 9:30 p.m. there was a power outage in the Still Rd. area resulting from downed wires.At 10:30 p.m., only six West Hartford customers were without power according to CL&P's outage map.
The Department of Public Works has responded to several requests to clear roads to accommodate medical calls. "Our drivers were responsive and eager to assist," said Phillips.
[UPDATED] 6:15 p.m.
As of 5:30 p.m., West Hartford Director of Public Works John Phillips advised that crews completed clearing all arterial routes for any commuters left on the roads. Because the snow has been moderate, plows have been able to keep up with the demand, Phillips said. Following a short dinner break, they will resume their neighborhood routes.
"Again our goal is to keep up with the accumulating snow collecting on the streets. This effort could be very beneficial when it comes time to make our final clearing tomorrow," said Phillips.
All of the town's contractors have been called in, and will be working on 100 miles of West Hartford's roads. Phillips said they will make a major difference in the ability to keep up with the expected heavy snowfall.
"I have to give kudos to West Hartford residents for obeying the parking ban. Proudly we have not had to tow any vehicles or have any concerns of cars parked on our streets. The plow operators greatly appreciate the cooperation," Phillips said.
Kingswood Oxford advises that all events are canceled for the weekend, including athletic contests, an Upper School dance that was scheduled for Saturday night, and a Forensic Union competition scheduled for Sunday.
Students who were scheduled to take the ACTs Saturday are advised to check
the ACT web site for information about whether the test will be given.
[UPDATED] 2:30 p.m.
Director of Public Works John Phillips reports that the snow intensity is beginning to increase and road conditions are becoming hazardous.
"Roads that have not been treated in a while are snow covered at this time. Crews are out concentrating on our arterial and secondary collectors because that is where are seeing the most traffic. With several business in the area closing early we hope that traffic will diminish shortly. Our goal now is to keep as much snow off the street as possible." Phillips said.
He said that contractors have been called in for support, and should be on board by 5 p.m. before the snowfall rates and winds, which are currently light to moderate, begin to increase.
"We have had several calls from town leaders and residents supporting DPW and wishing us a safe operation. I want to thank you for your support. Your snow plow operators greatly appreciate the support. We are here to serve," Phillips said.
In addition, the governor's office reports that CT TRANSIT bus service will begin shutting down service at 4 p.m. Friday, and all buses will stop running by 6 p.m. This shutdown will be in effect for the entire state until further notice.
[UPDATED] 11:45 a.m.
- Westfarms Mall is closing at 1 p.m. Friday.
- Gov. Dannel P. Malloy plans to declare a state of emergency and may close roads as early as noon Friday.
- From the West Hartford Public Library: Noah Webster Library and Bishops Corner Library will closed at noon Friday. Faxon Library is closed. NO OVERDUE FINES will accrue for Feb. 8, 9, 10. Renew items online if you can.
- From the UConn Health Center in Farmington: John Dempsey Hospital will remain open 24/7.
> All procedures, including inpatient and outpatient surgery, chemotherapy infusions, radiation oncology treatments, and GI procedures will proceed as scheduled.
> No outpatient appointments at John Dempsey Hospital and UConn Medical Group after 1 p.m. Friday, with the exception of IVF services at the Center for Advanced Reproductive Services.
> All of Friday’s dental appointments have been rescheduled.
> The valet service at the Main Hospital Entrance will be available until 1 p.m. At that time, all cars that were parked by the valet service will be moved up to the hospital parking lots.
> The MARB valet service will be available until all patients have been discharged.
- Many banks are closing at noon or 1 p.m. Check before venturing out.
[UPDATED] 9:10 a.m.
Fat flakes are beginning to fall throughout West Hartford! Untreated surfaces are turning white very quickly.
This message was just received from Director of Public Works John Phillips:
"The storm is about to settle in on West Hartford and public works is ready. We are fully staffed and we are actively out pre-treating our roads in preparation of the accumulating snow to come. I Have already been in contact with Mayor Scott Slifka, Police Chief Tracey Gove, and Fire Chief Gary Allyn. We are here and ready for our citizens and businesses. I can’t stress enough for residents to obey the parking ban and try to not travel for the next 36 hours, for their and my plow operators' safety."
Bradley Airport just announced that all flights will be canceled after 1:30 p.m. this afternoon.
West Hartford Schools announced Thursday that schools and offices would be closed on Friday due to the impending storm that may drop as much as two feet of snow in the area.
On Thursday afternoon, a Blizzard Watch for northern Connecticut was upgraded to a Blizzard Warning. According to the National Weather Service, snowfall of 18 to 24 inches is anticipated, with wind gusts up to 60mph possible. Snow is supposed to begin early Friday morning, with the heaviest accumulation occuring overnight Friday into Saturday.
Department of Public Works Director John Phillips has issued a parking ban on all town streets that takes effect as of 8 a.m. on Friday. It will be "aggressively enforced," Phillips said, to allow plow drivers to effectively manage the accumulating snow and ensure that emergency vehicles will be able to respond as needed.
Trash and recycling pick up will take place in Friday collection areas, but Phillips asked that residents remove barrels from the edge of the road as quickly as possible so they don't interfere with plowing.
Fire Chief Gary Allyn also offered several important storm safety tips, including clearing the snow from fire hydrants and ensuring that snow does not block appliance vents.
West Hartford officials said they do not plan to open an emergency shelter, but that may change if widespread power outages occur.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he would have his emergency operation center in place at 9 a.m. Friday, and he advised residents to stay off the roads if possible.
He asked non-essential state employees to stay home Friday and issued the following statement in a news release: “Based on the forecasts we’re looking at now, I am asking nonessential state employees to remain at home on Friday. If the worst-case scenario plays out, we will need roads clear for emergency personnel and utility crews. But even under the best of circumstances, it appears at this point that the best coarse of action is to keep people off the roads. Whether you’re a state employee or not, if you can stay home and off the roads tomorrow, please do so.”
The MDC has announced that the Farmington Avenue Reservoir and Reservoir #6 on Albany Ave. will be closed on Friday due to the impending storm.
This story will be updated throughout the day. Check back for comments about closings, or information about businesses that will remain open.