Governor Dannel Malloy visited with Branford's town officials – including First Selectman Unk DaRos, State Representative Lonnie Reed and members of the Branford Fire Department and Branford Police Department – yesterday afternoon to discuss the blizzard's impact on both Branford and the State of Connecticut.
"We're getting good at this," Malloy laughed after being asked about the many different natural disasters he has faced as Connecticut's governor. "We have learned and are responding better than if it was the first one. It’s experience that I’d rather not necessarily have had...but we've learned a lot."
Malloy noted that several members of the state's Emergency Operations Center have said that places like Florida and Oklahoma are now asking Connecticut how to handle disaster-type situations now, while the situation has been reversed in the past.
"They are asking questions about how we handle these situations," he said. "And of course, we had that human disaster out in Newtown, too, so it’s been a tough run, but we’re hardy stock here in Connecticut."
"Hearty stock" and all, Malloy still had several warnings for Connecticut residents, especially after yesterday's rain, including taking precautions with clearing flat roofs and to slow down on the highway system.
"The [snow on the] side of the road is going to be the equivalent of a Jersey barrier so on our highway system, people just need to slow down because if you hit one of those, you’re going to spin and do a lot of damage and potentially close the highway," he said. "We’ve had the happen a couple times yesterday with jackknifed trucks."
Ambulance travel is still proving to be a problem, but Malloy said that there are about 230 National Guard humvees being used at this time. Some are set up as ambulances, which they've needed since midway through the storm.
"We’ve had some of those out with local governments to move the sick or injured," he said.
DaRos also shared concerns about carbon monoxide poisoning, noting that Branford had "several close calls" over the weekend. Malloy confirmed that there were two deaths in Meriden as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning as people were in an idling vehicle without realizing the exhaust pipe was clogged.
"We certainly want people to be aware," said Malloy.
Now that the state roads are, "by and large, clear enough," according to Malloy, the state has released its crews to local governments. Nearby states are also sending equipment to help with snow removal.
Several massive snow-blowing machines arrived over the weekend with more slated to come in yesterday afternoon.
"[The municipalities] are asking for payloaders because you have to pick this stuff up; to get through a 10-foot drift at the bottom of a hill, you’ve got to do more than plow – you can’t push it out of the way," said Malloy. "We had historic levels of snow in every one of our counties and in urban areas, there’s a lack of places to push it. The equipment is being overwhelmed – that’s why we’re bringing in additional resources from other states at this point."
What's the Cost?
With Public Works crews and contractors working around the clock, many are wondering what the cost of the storm will be and how it could affect the town's budget. While it's too early to estimate fulls costs, Malloy acknowledged that a storm like this "wipes out anybody's snow budget."
Luckily, though, the State of Connecticut received a declaration, which means that communities can get 75 percent of their costs from a 48-hour period recovered.
"We’re allowing municipalities to select what that 48-hour period is," said Malloy. "We’ll go for a larger declaration that may give rise to some other types of relief as well."
More on the Blizzard
- Malloy Expresses Concern About Structural Safety After Rains
- Report: Private Plowers Charging Exorbitant Rates
- Are You Offering Plow Services in Branford?
- Ambulance Crashes on 95 in Branford Overnight
- Branford Winter Storm Update: Feb. 10
- How to Shovel Snow...Safely
- Malloy Says Snow Cleanup Will Take a 'Number of Days'
- PHOTOS: Branford Among Highest Snow Totals
- Don't forget how hard your plow guys are working
- Connecticut Travel Ban in Effect as of 4PM
- Winter Storm Safety for Pets
- Why Do Snowstorms Have Names Now?
- Thursday Blizzard Updates: Branford Schools Closed
- Patch's Poll: Are You Prepared for the Blizzard?
- Blizzard Watch Issued for Branford