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Storm Hercules: Slightly Less Extremely Frigid

While Winter Storm Hercules (as some are calling it, including Patch) dumps on Darien, this article will provide new information and links to other articles.

A walkway near Darien Railroad Station during a recent snowfall (Darien Patch file photo)
A walkway near Darien Railroad Station during a recent snowfall (Darien Patch file photo)
See also the latest on New Haven Line train delays below (6:51 a.m. update).

See this article for the latest closures and delays resulting from Storm Hercules.

Update 12:45 p.m.:

The National Weather Service has warmed up the forecast a bit for the rest of today (or we just passed through the coldest part of the day). Wind chill values as low as -10 degrees were in earlier forecasts, but now it's up as high as -3 degrees -- still dangerously frigid if you're out for an extended period of time without proper clothes, but it's an improvement.

Here's the latest update in the Darien-specific forecast (from 11:56 a.m.):

  • Friday afternoon: Areas of blowing snow before 4pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 14. Wind chill values as low as -3. Blustery, with a northwest wind 16 to 20 mph.
  • Friday night: Mostly clear, with a low around -2. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light north after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.
  • Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 26. Calm wind becoming southwest 5 to 9 mph in the morning.
  • Saturday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 20. Southwest wind 5 to 7 mph.
  • Sunday: A slight chance of snow, freezing rain, and sleet before noon, then a chance of rain and snow between noon and 1pm, then a chance of rain after 1pm. Patchy fog. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 41. West wind around 6 mph becoming south in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.
  • Sunday night: Rain likely. Areas of fog. Otherwise, cloudy, with a low around 34. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
  • Monday: Rain showers likely before 2pm, then a chance of rain and snow showers between 2pm and 4pm, then a chance of snow showers after 4pm. Areas of fog before 9am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 40. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent.

Update 7:40 a.m.:

The National Weather Service reports these snowfall totals at these times (most from Connecticut Department of Transportation) in Fairfield County (and elsewhere, here's the full list):

  • Darien -- 5 inches (3:07 am.)
  • Bridgeport airport -- 4.5 inches (7 a.m.)
  • Danbury -- 3.5 inches (3:11 a.m.)
  • New Canaan -- 3 inches (3:10 a.m.)

Update 7:37 a.m.:

Here's some good news: If you're wondering about who may not have power, as of now the CL&P outage map reports a total of -- count 'em -- TWO customers in that unfortunate situation. In Newington. The only two in the entire CL&P coverage area (most of the state). It's a beautiful map this morning.

Update 7:03 a.m.

It'll be a windy, cold day (wind chill values as low as negative 10 degrees!) so expect snow to blow around, especially this morning, with a daytime accumulation of 1 to 2 more inches, according to the National Weather Service's Darien-specific forecast. Here's more of what they say is in store (as of the 5:56 a.m. update):

  • Friday: Snow with widespread blowing snow before 10 a.m., then areas of blowing snow and a slight chance of snow between 10 a.m. and noon, then areas of blowing snow after noon. High near 16. Wind chill values as low as -10. Blustery, with a north wind 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
  • Friday night: Mostly clear, with a low around -1. Wind chill values as low as -9. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light after midnight.
  • Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 26. Wind chill values as low as -2. Light west wind becoming southwest 5 to 10 mph in the morning.
  • Saturday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 20. Southwest wind 6 to 8 mph.
  • Sunday: A slight chance of snow, freezing rain, and sleet before noon, then a chance of rain and snow between noon and 1 p.m., then a chance of rain after 1pm. Patchy fog. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 41. West wind around 6 mph becoming south in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.
  • Sunday night: Rain likely. Areas of fog. Otherwise, cloudy, with a low around 34. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
  • Monday: Rain showers likely before 2 p.m., then a chance of rain and snow showers between 2pm and 4pm, then a chance of snow showers after 4 p.m. Areas of fog before 9 a.m. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 40. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent.


Update, 6:51 a.m., Friday:

Today's Metro-North train schedule has train service at roughly 60 percent maximum capacity, the railroad has announced. Here's part of the announcement:

"MTA Metro-North is operating on a Saturday schedule (without the trains marked as Shoppers’ Specials in the timetable) today Friday, January 3rd due to the impact of winter storm Hercules.  Depending on the time of day, this schedule provides approximately 60 percent of normal weekday trains. [...]

"
See a schedule or use our interactive schedules page for details on train times. [...] Please take care when traveling during inclement weather and allow for additional travel time. Customers should use caution when entering and exiting trains, and on platforms and staircases."

Update 9:34 p.m., Thursday:

No school on Friday, kids. Darien Public Schools announced it on their website.

Update 9:18 p.m.:

Gov. Dannel Malloy is directing state workers to come to work a little later on Friday. Here's a news release issued by the Governor's Office:

Governor Dannel P. Malloy has ordered a delayed opening for state offices onFriday, January 3, 2014, directing all nonessential state employees to report to work at 9:30 a.m.

The delayed opening will allow extra time for transportation crews to clear the roads from tonight’s anticipated snowfall.

For further updates, state employees should continue monitoring local media as well as the website of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, where they can locate an “Early Release/Late Openings/Closures” button.


Update 9:15 p.m.:

The Metropolitan Transit Authority has issued the following announcement about schedule changes on the New Haven, Harlem and Hudson Lines. This is an excerpt (removing information about rail lines other than the New Haven Line; the full announcement is on the MTA website):

MTA-MNRR [Metro-North Railroad]; will make the following changes due to the projected impact of winter storm Hercules.  

Tonight, Thursday, Jan. 2, we will operate a regular schedule until 8 PM. After 8 PM, we will operate hourly service (making all stops). After midnight, we will operate a schedule with train combinations and cancellations to prevent trains from becoming stranded during the storm.

On the New Haven Line:

Inbound

  • The 8:33 PM train from Stamford to Grand Central Terminal is canceled. Customers may take the 8:03 PM or 9:03 PM trains from Stamford to Grand Central Terminal.
  • The 9:33 PM train from Stamford to Grand Central Terminal is canceled. Customers may take the 9:03 PM or 10:03 PM trains from Stamford to Grand Central Terminal.

Outbound

  • The 8:04 PM train to New Haven is canceled. Customers may take the 8:07 PM train to New Haven.
  • The 9:10 PM train to Stamford is canceled. Customers may take the 8:40 PM or 9:40 PM trains to Stamford.
  • The 9:34 PM train to New Haven is canceled. Customers may take the 9:07 PM or 10:07 PM trains to New Haven.
  • The 10:10 PM train to Stamford is canceled. Customers may take the 9:40 PM or 10:40 PM trains to Stamford.
  • The 10:31 PM train to New Haven is canceled. Customers may take the 10:07 PM or 11:22 PM trains to New Haven.
  • The 11:10 PM train to Stamford is canceled. Customers may take the 10:40 PM or 11:40 PM trains to Stamford.
  • The 12:07 AM train to New Haven is combined with the 12:09 AM train to Stamford, which will make all local stops to New Haven.
  • The 1:07 AM train to New Haven is combined with the 1:09 AM train to Stamford, which will make all local stops to New Haven.
  • The 1:47 AM train to New Haven is combined with the 1:53 AM train to Stamford, which will make all local stops to New Haven.

Update 9:07 p.m.:


It'll snow, and it'll blow as temps go low. The snow should stop falling Friday night after a total accumulation of 5 to 10 inches, but when temperatures get above freezing on Sunday, it's expected to rain.

Here's the National Weather Service's Darien-specific forecast as of 7:56 p.m.:

  • Thursday night: Snow with widespread blowing snow. Low around 14. Wind chill values as low as -1. Blustery, with a north wind 18 to 23 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent. Total nighttime snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.
  • Friday: Snow likely with widespread blowing snow before 10am, then widespread blowing snow and a chance of snow between 10am and 1pm, then widespread blowing snow after 1pm. Cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 17. Wind chill values as low as -5. Blustery, with a northwest wind 17 to 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
  • Friday night: Mostly clear, with a low around -2. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light north after midnight.
  • Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 26. Wind chill values as low as -2. Light west wind becoming southwest 5 to 10 mph in the morning.
  • Saturday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 22. Southwest wind 6 to 8 mph.
  • Sunday: A slight chance of snow, freezing rain, and sleet before noon, then a chance of rain and snow between noon and 1pm, then a chance of rain after 1pm. Patchy fog. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 41. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.
  • Sunday night: Rain likely. Areas of fog. Otherwise, cloudy, with a low around 35. Chance of precipitation is 70%.
  • Monday: Rain and snow showers likely. Areas of fog before 9am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 45. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
  • Monday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 7.
Yep, it's winter.

Update 4:17 p.m.:

Concerned about road conditions on Interstate 95? Check out the state Department of Transportation traffic cameras on I-95 in Greenwich, Stamford, Darien and Norwalk.

Update 4:14 p.m.:

Stamford Patch reports that Ted Jankowski, Stamford Director of Public Safety, Health & Welfare, says moderate power outages are expected. Connecticut Light & Power has called in additional line and tree crews which are being deployed throughout the state.

Update 4:10 p.m.:

From Connecticut Light & Power's website: "If you lose power, please call CL&P at (800) 286-2000. You can also report your power outage here." You may want to have that phone number in your cell phone.

Update 3:04 p.m.:

Darien Public Works crews are ready to start putting salt down on the streets (they don't put down sand), said Darren J. Oustafine, assistant director of public works.

Normally, 11 trucks covering 11 different routes sand and plow during a snow storm, he said. The town has plenty of salt and all seems to be in order, he said.

Update 2:29 p.m.:

Gov. Dannel Malloy is closing state offices early, beginning at 3 p.m., because of the upcoming storm. Malloy suggests that private companies consider doing the same. The Governor's Office issued this news release at 1:50 p.m.:

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy directed Executive Branch agency heads to release their employees early in stages this afternoon in order to better manage the evening commute given the inclement conditions.  Dismissals were to begin at 3 p.m. and continue in fifteen minute intervals. 

Agency heads were contacted directly with instructions on when to release their employees.  Releases are also being staggered within facilities so as to mitigate traffic issues in parking areas.  These releases are being coordinated with other large employers in the Hartford region.

“Given the impending snow and the severe cold, I’ve asked all executive agencies to enact their early dismissal plans,” Governor Malloy said.  “Private sector companies may want to consider similar plans, so that we are not bogged down during the usual evening rush, right when the snow is forecasted to pick up.”

Department of Administrative Services Commissioner Donald DeFronzo said, “The Governor’s directive underscores the need to keep highway traffic to a minimum later this evening as the storm intensifies in order to better provide for public safety.”

For information concerning the Friday, January 3 work day, state employees are advised to monitor local media as well as the website of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, where they can find the page with the Notification of Early Release/Late Opening for State Offices.

The dismissal schedule is as follows:

  • 3:00 p.m. – DECD, DOE, DSS, MHA, CHRO, OPM, DOC, Housing
  • 3:15 p.m. – DCF, Agriculture, DRS, DCP, DEEP, DOL, Protection/Advocacy, Aging
  • 3:30 p.m. – All others

Update 1:17 p.m.:

Gov. Dannel Malloy will hold a 5 p.m. news conference about the state's response to the upcoming storm. The Governor's Office emailed the following news release at 12:39 p.m.:

"Today at 5 p.m., Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will hold a news briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Hartford to provide updates on the state’s preparations for tonight’s forecasted winter storm and severe cold outbreak.  The Governor is also partially activating the EOC beginning at 4:00 p.m.

"Following a call today with the state’s unified command, the governor has asked the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to communicate with municipal leaders on the importance of finding shelters for at-risk members of their communities. 

"The state is also coordinating transportation services to locate those in need of shelter and bring them to designated facilities.

“'Partially activating the State Emergency Operations Center will allow us to quickly respond to any problems that may arise and coordinate any resources that may be needed across the state as we head into the height of the storm tonight,' Governor Malloy said. 

"'In addition to the winter storm, we are also warning residents to be prepared for a severe cold weather outbreak.  Yesterday, I directed the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to work with our social services agency to activate the state severe cold weather protocol which enables us to help our most vulnerable populations access sheltering.  If you are in need of a shelter, please call 2-1-1.”


Update 9:39 a.m.:

Information on weather cancellations is now available in this article, which will be updated continually.

Update 9:26 a.m.:

Correction:
Here are the closing times for individual Darien public schools (incorrect times were given in an earlier update): Darien High School 12:20 p.m. Hindley, Royle, Tokeneke 1:00 p.m. Middlesex 12:30 p.m. Holmes, Ox Ridge 1:25 p.m. (All weather cancellation updates have been moved to this article.)

Original article, 8:16 a.m.:


Darien Public Schools are closing early today due to the weather, while the National Weather Service expects (as of 6:56 a.m.) a "chance of light snow before 10 a.m., then snow after 4 p.m." and only a half an inch accumulation.

An announcement Thursday morning at the top of the Darien Public Schools website states, "Due to the impending weather, all Darien Public Schools have early dismissal for today, Thursday Jan. 2."

But much more snow is expected -- as much as 4 to 8 inches overnight.  The weather service also has issued a "Winter Storm Warning" that says
"heavy snow, strong winds and dangerously cold wind chills [are] expected tonight into Friday afternoon."

Wind-chill values could fall to as low as -1 degree tonight as temperatures dip and winds bluster, according to the Darien-specific forecast.

A "Coastal Flood Advisory" is also in effect for Darien and other western Long Island Sound communities from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It says we should watch out for "minor coastal flooding today with minor to moderate coastal flooding impacts tonight."

The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles announced this morning that it "is cancelling all road tests for today (Thursday, Jan. 2). The cancellation is due to inclement weather and poor road conditions."

"Anyone with a scheduled road test can call DMV to choose a new date," the announcement continued. "The numbers to call are 860-263-5700 if someone is within the Hartford area and toll-free 800-842-8222 for those outside the Hartford area. DMV is also attempting to contact customers with road test appointments to advise them of the schedule change."

Here's the National Weather Service's Darien-specific forecast from today through the weekend (as of 6:56 a.m.):

  • Thursday (today): A chance of light snow before 10am, then snow after 4pm. High near 30. Northeast wind 14 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
  • Thursday night: Snow with widespread blowing snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 11. Wind chill values as low as -1. Blustery, with a north wind 16 to 23 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent. New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.
  • Friday: Snow likely with widespread blowing snow before 9am, then widespread blowing snow and a chance of snow showers between 9am and noon, then widespread blowing snow after noon. Cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 17. Wind chill values as low as -11. Blustery, with a northwest wind 16 to 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
  • Friday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 0. Wind chill values as low as -11. Northwest wind 6 to 11 mph becoming light after midnight.
  • Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 25. Calm wind becoming southwest 5 to 8 mph in the morning.
  • Saturday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 21.
  • Sunday: A chance of rain after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 42. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.
  • Sunday night: Rain likely. Areas of fog. Otherwise, cloudy, with a low around 37. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent.


































Chuck Anziulewicz January 03, 2014 at 07:08 AM
"Hercules?" What gives you the impression this snow storm has a name? Since when have snow events EVER had names? Hurricanes and typhoons have names, given to them by the appropriate government agency. Snow storms do NOT have names. The National Weather Service (NWS) hasn't named the snow, nor has the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Neither the NWS, NOAA, nor anyone I know is referring to this storm as "Hercules." Oh, WAIT A MINUTE. You must be referring to The Weather Channel. Yes, in what can only be described as a shameless, pretentious publicity stunt, they have taken it upon themselves to start naming every snow event that comes along, and in the process they have become a bit of a laughingstock. Who knows? Maybe this summer, when things have started quieting down, they'll start naming HEAT WAVES! We are experiencing a snow storm, not "Hercules." Please stop pandering to The Weather Channel's sense of self-importance.

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