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Gov Malloy – Storm Charlotte points to climate ‘turmoil’

February 11, 2013 Local News No Comments

The intersection of Valley Street Ext. and Milk Street in Willimantic buried beneath about three feet of snow left behind by Storm Charlotte on Feb. 9, 2013. Photo copyright 2013 by Brenda Sullivan.

By Brenda Sullivan | HTNP News Editor

At a press conference Monday evening (Feb. 11), Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy fielded questions from reporters, including one about whether the state was adequately prepared for Storm Charlotte – in light of recommendations made by the Two Storm Task Force that looked at problems that arose during Tropical Storm Irene and the recent hurricane, Storm Sandy.

Gov. Malloy responded by saying that while his opinion might make some people unhappy, “we’re in a time of climate turmoil,” and that planning needs to get underway “on an expedited basis” for more of these kinds of events.

“We need to make sure we have the resources to respond to these kinds of incidences,” he said, and pointed to the fact that this is the fifth emergency/disaster declaration within a period of months.

Gov. Malloy also reported that the state is in the process of bringing in contractors from other parts of the country to clean up after a record-breaking snowfall (as much as three feet in some parts of the state), and that he has directed the CT Department of Transportation commissioner to release more equipment/manpower – including 63 frontend loaders – to help towns still struggling with digging out.

Using waterways

The governor also answered questions about allowing cities and towns to dump snow in local waterways – and how salt and chemicals in the snow might affect those waterways.

“We really don’t have a choice,” Gov. Malloy said.

Towns that can demonstrate they’ve filled their normal dumping areas will be allowed to dispose of  “clean” snow in local waterways, and are advised to consult with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), he said.

Hazardous snow banks

Gov. Malloy also addressed questions about whether towns heeded his advice to plow throughout the storm, in order to minimize the size of snow banks – which interfere with visibility, particularly at intersections.

The governor said that he, like some reporters, has been told that some towns did not follow his advice, but possibly out of safety concerns for public works crews.

He added that the state last night sent home several workers – who had been working around the clock for the past three days with only 3-hour breaks – so that they could get some much needed sleep.

Fatalities

Gov. Malloy also reported that to date, there have been 7 storm-related deaths in Connecticut, including a woman struck by a car, carbon-monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks.

There also have been 16 roof/building collapses that he’s aware of, Gov. Malloy said.

Help for businesses

Responding to questions about whether businesses losing income because of the storm – or suffering damage to their buildings – might receive financial assistance, Gov. Malloy said he will be exploring sources of assistance, just as he did after Storm Irene and Storm Sandy.

School closings

The governor was also asked whether he is concerned that schools have been closed several times this year.  He replied that any concern about lost instruction time takes second place to safety.

Gov. Malloy advised towns to not “open too early” – to make sure roads are safe for school buses – and to make sure school roofs are in good condition.  Today’s rains saturating such a heavy snowfall could be a concern, he said.

Gov. Malloy said state offices will be back on a normal schedule as of Wednesday.

In the meantime, local forecasters are tracking storms that could mean more snow coming to Connecticut beginning Wednesday night (Feb. 13) and continuing into Thursday morning – as well as the possibility of a “big ocean storm” on Sunday , Feb. 17.

Posted February 11, 2013

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