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Governor Activates State Severe Weather Protocol



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NOTE: This story was updated at 5 pm Tuesday, January 6, to include an announcement from Town of Newtown officials and additional weather information from the National Weather Service.

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HARTFORD — Governor Dannel P. Malloy has activated the state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol in anticipation of temperatures in the teens and single digits and wind chills below zero over the next few days and nights. The protocol is effective beginning today, January 6, and will remain in effect through Saturday, January 10.

“We must continue to protect the most vulnerable during these severe cold weather outbreaks,” said Gov Malloy. “I urge anyone in need of shelter to call 211 and encourage local communities to consider opening warming centers or other facilities to assist people in need.”

While activated, the protocol directs the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), the Department of Social Services (DSS), the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), and the Department of Housing (DOH) to coordinate with 211 and Connecticut’s network of shelters to ensure that the state’s most vulnerable populations are protected from the severe cold weather.

Under the protocol, DESPP’s Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security activates its WebEOC communications network, an Internet-based system that enables local, regional, and state emergency management officials and first responders to share up-to-date information about a variety of situations and conditions. The system is used to monitor capacity at shelters across the state, enabling 211 to act as a clearinghouse to assist in finding shelter space for those who need it. Local officials, working through WebEOC, can alert 211 and the state when they open temporary shelters or warming centers.

DSS and DOH coordinate with 211 and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness in working with community-based providers to provide transportation for people seeking shelter.

DMHAS deploys teams that specialize in working with homeless people to locate those who are at risk, spread the word about the 211 system, and encourage them to take shelter. It also works with shelters to assess and meet the needs of individual clients.

Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra said Tuesday morning that the town will be issuing its own announcement through the local Department of Health. Residents should be ready, she said, to take care of each other.

“We don’t anticipate any storms that will create a loss of power, which is the most significant concerns during this kind of weather,” Mrs Llodra said. “We will remind everyone, however, to take care of yourself, and keep an eye on your neighbors.

“We will always be a warming center,” she said of Newtown Municipal Center. The center of town government, at 3 Primrose Street, is one of the first buildings turned into a warming center, providing heat and, when needed, electricity during weather events.

Local Forecast

The National Weather Service’s (NWS) summary for southern Connecticut, at 4:36 Tuesday morning, said in part that “a weak clipper moves south of the area today and farther offshore tonight. Periods of mainly light snow expected from late this morning until early evening with accumulations of around one inch.” The area of the bulletin also includes southeastern New York and southern New Jersey.

“Weather becomes drier late tonight and very cold,” the summary from NWS in Upton, N.Y., included. “An arctic front moves through late Wednesday ... delivering the coldest air mass of the season thus far. Snow showers will be possible Wednesday into Wednesday evening. The pressure gradient will be increasing with the strengthening of low pressure east of the Canadian maritimes. The resulting gusty northwest flow will promote this colder air to be brought into the region.”

Newtown is currently not under any NWS severe weather warnings or advisories. Periods of snow are expected to continue today until approximately 5 pm. Temperatures are predicted to reach a high of 21 degrees, but with wind chill values of between 15 and 20 degrees due to a light south wind. Total snow accumulation is expected to be less than one inch.

There is a chance of snow showers for Tuesday evening, mainly before 8 pm. Skies will remain mostly cloudy. Temperatures will drop to approximately 14 degrees, and there will be a very light westerly wind, 3 to 6 mph.

There is only a “slight chance” of snow on Wednesday (20 percent), according to NWS, but that is when temperatures will drop further. The day will be mostly cloudy, with a high of 24 degrees, but it will feel more like 5 to 10 degrees thanks to westerly winds ranging from 7 to 12 mph in the morning and increasing to 13-18 mph by the afternoon.

Wednesday night’s temperatures will be even harder to contend with, dropping to -4 degrees. Blustery northwest winds of 14 to 20 mph, with gusts reaching 33 mph, according to NWS, will have the air feeling like -10 to -20 degrees. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.

Thursday’s temperatures are currently forecast to bring some relief, returning to 16 degrees in a mostly sunny morning. Northeast winds will continue at 8-10 mph, however, with gusts as high as 22 mph. Wind predictions for Thursday and beyond had not been posted as of 10:30 Tuesday morning, but temperatures were at least shown to be returning to more seasonal measures of 31 by Friday and 25 by Saturday.

Notes From Newtown Leaders 

Connecticut is forecast to experience very cold temperatures this evening, with wind chill factor temperatures predicted to be in the low single digits or below zero each night into Saturday morning.

On Tuesday afternoon, First Selectman Pat Llodra and the town’s Emergency Management Office began urging residents to be prepared for severe cold weather and ask that every resident make appropriate preparations to ensure personal safety and readiness.

“Make appropriate provisions to protect your pets,” the officials said via a press release. “Please review your preparedness,” they added.

Residents can visit the locations listed below to seek relief from the cold:

Newtown Municipal Center, within Fairfield Hills at 3 Primrose Street, is open as a warming center for any resident who needs relief from the cold. The building will remain open through evening hours, closing at 9:30 pm;

Newtown Senior Center, 14 Riverside Road in Sandy Hook, is open 8 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday (telephone 203-270-4310); and

C.H. Booth Library, at 25 Main Street, is open Monday through Thursday from 9:30 am to 8 pm, Friday from 11 am to 5 pm, Saturday from 9:30 am to 5 pm, and Sunday from noon to 5 pm (telephone 203-426-4533).

“We ask that you please check on any elderly or frail neighbors to be certain they are doing OK in this weather,” the town officials encouraged.

Important numbers and contact information:

If there is a Life Safety Emergency, call 911

Power Outage, call 800-286-2000

Code Red (the town’s emergency notifications system), register at www.newtown-ct.gov or call 203-270-4370 for assistance;

Smart 911 (which automatically provides information including information about a caller, their family members, their home, pets and even vehicles to dispatchers at Newtown’s Emergency Communications Center when 911 is called; those who register control what information is provided in their profile), register at www.newtown-ct.gov just below the Code Red emblem on the lower left side of the page.

Check News and Announcements on the Town website (www.newtown-ct.gov). Residents can also register there to receive news.

Connecticut’s free information and referral service: call 211 or visit www.211ct.org.

First Selectman’s Office, 203-270-4201

Emergency Management/Fire Marshal, 203-270-4370

Health District, 203-270-4291.

As of 5 pm Tuesday, no weather warnings had been issued by the National Weather Services. During the previous hour, however, the entire state of Connecticut was placed under a Wind Chill Advisory. The advisory is scheduled to remain in effect until 8 am Thursday, January 8.

 Arctic air continues to settle southward from Canada into the central and eastern US this week, according to the weather service.

“Bitter cold will be felt from the western High Plains to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast US for the next few days,” NWS posted Tuesday afternoon. “Widespread subzero overnight lows are forecast for the Dakotas, Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, and interior New England. Wind Chill Advisories and Warnings are in effect for many of these areas.”

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