Live updates as snow storm hits Fairfield

Loaded for the storm, a plow truck heads out on the road from Fairfield Public Works in Fairfield, Conn. on Tuesday, January 21, 2014.

Loaded for the storm, a plow truck heads out on the road from Fairfield Public Works in Fairfield, Conn. on Tuesday, January 21, 2014.

Brian A. Pounds / Brian A. Pounds

FAIRFIELD — The area will likely get 12 to 18 inches of snow, with the possibility of accumulations up to two feet, according to the National Weather Service.

Check here for updates throughout the day.

6:45 p.m.

As of 6 p.m., public works crews in Fairfield were continuing to plow and salt roads. Acting Director of Public Works John Marsilio said weather reports indicate that the current snow should be coming to an end within the next two hours.

“That would be the snow part of it,” he said. “Between 7 and midnight there will be an increase of the temperature. This snow will turn to rain which will result in heavy snow - maybe a few more inches. But it will be heavier.”

Marsilio said the heavier snow could turn into an icy crust on top of the softer snow that is already on the ground. He said DPW crews have been “intensely sanding” in addition to plowing in order to mitigate that issue.

“We’ll stay on at least until midnight,” he said. “If the roads aren’t safe, we’ll stay on until they are.”

Marsilio said Fairfield got around 8 inches of snow during the storm, but heavy winds have create “significant” drifts. One issue, he said, is that the snow is so light that it will get blown back into the road after trucks have plowed them.

“The whiteouts create a visibility problem also,” he said.

Fairfield police Lt. Antonio Granata said the department has responded to four storm related accidents as of 6 p.m. - but none of them had injuries.

“Visibility is still poor, roads remain very slippery and state and DPW crews continue to clear the roadways,” Granata said.

Marsilio also said the roads are slippery, and warned that people should drive slowly if they have to go anywhere.

Regarding coastal flood, which the town was tracking during the storm, Marsilio said there was some flooding on Fairfield Beach Road. He said it was the normal flooding that road sees during a full moon.

“Right now is the second high tide,” he said. “It should be a little bit higher from what our forecasts are telling us, but nothing threatening.”

Marsilio asked that people stay off the roads, adding that DPW’s job would not be completed at least until midnight.

“What I would recommend is that folks don’t dig out that final piece of their driveway until we’re done,” Marsilio said. “Otherwise, we’re going to push the snow right in front of their driveway. Give us a little time to finish, and then you can do what you want.”

First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick said see was encouraged to see that residents heeded the warning to stay home during the storm. She said she is really proud of the work the DPW is doing and will continue to do.

6 p.m.

Tuesday will be a remote learning day for all Fairfield public school students, Superintendent Mike Cummings announced Monday evening.

All public and parochial school buildings in Fairfield will be closed on Tuesday due to “ongoing snow cleanup and unsafe driving conditions,” he said.

Custodial and maintenance staff will report to work for their regular shift. Teachers and other should work remotely. Students will follow the updated Remote Learning Day Emergency Closure Instructional Plan.

“If there are power and/or internet outages, we may have to cancel remote instruction,” Cummings cautioned. “Please check in the morning for any changes. Information about lunch distribution will also be made available in the morning, once we can assess whether our food service staff can safely access the buildings.”

4 p.m.

Fire Chief Denis McCarthy, who is also the town’s emergency management director, said Fairfield has been fortunate because residents have heeded warnings and stayed off the roads.

“I think the fact that the storm started overnight convinced people earlier this morning to stay indoors,” he said. “Many are working virtually anyways - from home - that made the decision a little bit easier.”

McCarthy said the emergency management team and first selectwoman have been working since Sunday to prepare for the storm, and mentioned that there is a parking ban enforced on roads in the beach area. He noted that alternate parking is available at Veterans Park.

“That has certainly made it an easy process to deal with the storm,” he said, adding the police and fire departments have had a “low call volume day.”

McCarthy said public works crews have been out on the roads since 3 a.m. and are doing a pretty good job keeping up with the storm.

“We’re in good shape,” he said. “Just what you would expect.”

McCarthy said some minor coastal flooding is expected at high tide during the storm. He said officials will be monitoring the situation.

Regarding possible power outages, McCarthy said officials have only heard of issues popping up farther east - in the New Haven area - but not of anything in Fairfield’s part of the state.

“That’s a very good sign,” he said.

2 p.m.

First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick said things are quiet in Fairfield, and public works employees having been on the roads since early this morning to clear the snow. As of approximately 1 p.m. on Monday, Kupchick said there was about 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ground.

“Our crews are fully staffed and prepared for an all-night effort,” she said. “We are out there. We are ready.”

Kupchick said she sent a Code Red message to residents on Sunday telling people to stay home in order to give crews space to plow roads. She said she thinks residents were better prepared to stay at home because they had the weekend to get anything they needed.

Kupchick said she called for a delayed opening of town offices on Tuesday in order to allow employees time to safely get to work, noting offices will open at 10:30 in the morning. She said residents should have full faith in the ability of public works crew to get the roads cleared and first responders to keep them safe.

“Stay home and stay safe,” she said.

7:30 a.m.

Fairfield Schools already canceled Monday’s classes and activities.

In a message to parents and staff on Sunday, Superintendent of Schools Mike Cummings announced the cancellation and said the district would update the Tuesday schedule as early as possible on Monday.

Town hall also closed and a parking ban is in effect for the beach area, according to a post on the town website.

“We encourage all residents to stay home and stay safe so our dedicated DPW crews can clear the roads,” the post said.