Gov. Dannel Malloy declared a state of emergency as Blizzard Charlotte makes her presence known.
Malloy said any motorist out and about needs to get to where they're going because roads in the state are now subject to closure.
"People need to take this storm seriously. If current predictions are accurate, we will need people to stay off the roads so that emergency personnel and utility crews can get to the places they need to get to and to make sure that our plows can keep critical roadways clear," Malloy said.
In a state of emergency, Malloy has the ability to modify or suspend any state statute, regulation or requirement. He also has the ability to order civil preparedness forces into action, as well as the ability to designate vehicle and person routes and movements.
Malloy said that there will be a travel ban on all limited access highways throughout the state starting at 4 p.m. on Friday. A limited access is any state road that has an on-ramp or an off-ramp such as Interstate 95, 91, 84 or the Merritt Pkwy.
"We are asking residents to limit their travel wherever possible," he said during an evening press conference.
The ban is expected to stay in effect until Saturday morning when a decision will be made to continue it or lift it.
"I am pleased that people have heeded our calls to stay off the roads," Malloy said.
The ban does not apply to any "emergency response and recovery vehicles" such as public safety and utility vehicles as well as ones delivering essential supplies.
"We are asking people, please stay home," Malloy said.
The governor is coordinating with governors from New York and Massachusetts on their highway bans.
There are 1,000 Department of Transportation crews clearing state roads.
Malloy said Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating are now saying up to 30 percent of the customer base may lose power as winds pick up and heavy, wet snow falls.
"We passed legislation, we hold utilities responsible. They know we have the tool to hold them responsible any time more than 10 percent of power is lost by either of the companies that triggers an automatic review of performance," Malloy said at a press conference Friday afternoon. "If that performance is found to be lacking they are subject to fines."
On Friday, CL&P crews were preparing - including snow chains on truck tires.
"They're staged at hotels that are near our work centers so these are folks that won't be spending a lot of time driving to work," said CL&P Frank Poirot. "They're right near where the work has to be done."
Hammonasset State Park is serving as the stationing area for the state utility crews.
CL&P will have 400 of its regular crews on Friday plus 200 extra here from Ohio and Missouri. Another 200 are on the way from North Carolina.
"I think things are going well," Malloy said. However, he said the winds have only started to reach 35 mph.
About 200 troops from the Connecticut National Guard are on active duty and are assisting with storm efforts. Malloy said 500 guardsmen are available, if needed, to help with emergency needs.
Up to 2 feet of snow is expected to fall throughout the day Friday into Saturday morning.
Malloy is expected to meet with staff Saturday morning and then talk with municipal leaders. He will address the media again at noon on Saturday from the William O'Neill Armory.
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Wednesday, July 23 2014 7:06 AM EDT2014-07-23 11:06:51 GMT
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