January 4, 2018

Business, airport service disrupted as CT waits out blizzard

PHOTO | CT Department of Transportation
PHOTO | CT Department of Transportation
I-91 South at Exit 26 in Hartford was blanketed with snow and carried few motorists during Thursday's storms.

Thursday's "bomb cyclone" blizzard shut down much of Connecticut's business community as well as schools and city halls, but Bradley International Airport stayed open.

"Obviously, the storm has disrupted a lot of economic activity," said Pete Gioia, economist for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association.

At the same time, he added, supermarkets were busy as residents prepped for the storm and plow companies were busy, so in terms of business impact, "it's sort of a mixed bag," he said.

The bomb cyclone, which happened overnight, occurs when a cyclone has a significant and rapid drop in atmospheric pressure over a short period of time.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy addressed the public on television in live briefings Thursday from the State Emergency Operations Center at the William A. O'Neill State Armory in Hartford. He said he had urged employers to allow workers to stay home and where possible work remotely. He also urged all state residents to stay off the roads.

Winds are expected to gust as high as 50 mph today.

"We cannot and will not order people up in trucks to fix lines when the winds are too high," Malloy said.

He also ordered non-essential employees not to report to work.

The storm forced the closure of schools across the state, including in the city of Hartford, and prompted the opening of warming centers, city officials said.

At Bradley, dozens of flights were cancelled, according to the airport's website.

"We are continuing to monitor the winter storm and our snow removal efforts are ongoing with the focus on keeping runways and taxiways clear," said Bradley Spokeswoman Alisa Sisic.

Real time flight status updates are available on Bradley's website, www.flybdl.org.

Power outages were not prevalent, but Eversource Energy remained concerned about high winds, said Spokesman Mitch Gross. Less than 1 percent of Eversource customers, about 722 of its 1.2 million customers, were without power, Gross said.

As noon approached the storm was still raging.

"The winds and the resulting blowing snow could make driving more difficult – so traveling to damage locations will be challenging. Hazard-level winds could temporarily prevent our crews from going up in bucket trucks to restore power. Also, repairs will be more challenging due to record-low forecasted temperatures," Gross said via email.

The cities of Hartford and Bridgeport also announced the closing of city halls and schools and the opening of warming shelters.

Additional reports from Bradley and Malloy are expected at noon.

A CNN report was used in this story.

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