Connecticut residents are being advised to stay off the streets as Winter Storm Bethany is expected to make road conditions difficult after late Thursday evening into early Friday morning.
"If you don't need to go anywhere, stay home," Gov. Dannel Malloy said during a news conference.
Winter storm warnings were posted in advance of Bethany's arrival, and they remain in effect until at least Friday morning. When all is said and done, Winter Storm Bethany could drop up to 10 inches of snow across most of Connecticut with locally higher amounts.
According to the Channel 3 Early Warning Weather Center, snow was generally light throughout the day with some moderate bursts of snow.
There were 632 Connecticut Department of Transportation plow truck on the roads as 5 p.m. At 7 p.m., the state was expected to bring in 200 extra contractors.
Drivers were advised to use caution and to give themselves some extra time if they chose to go out on the roads Thursday evening or Friday morning.
Temperatures are expected to drop into the range of 5 to 15 degrees with gusts from 30 to 40 mph possible after midnight. Malloy said he was more concerned about the cold because New Hampshire and Massachusetts had already seen temperatures in the single digits Thursday evening.
"We don't want to lose someone due to the cold," Malloy said.
Malloy partially activated the Emergency Operations Center while encouraging cities and towns to open warming centers or other facilities to help people stay warm during the storm. People are advised to call 211 or click here to find the nearest shelter.
The snow is expected to fall the heaviest between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. with about an inch of snow expected to fall each hour. Malloy called these "blizzard conditions."
For more tips on dealing with extreme cold, click here.
Malloy said the state usually worries about 40 mph winds, and in Connecticut, they were only expected to be 35 mph. If winds increase to about 40 mph, Malloy said there could be power outages.
The governor met with the utility companies, who said they are confident that they will be able to handle this storm.
There were 140 Connecticut Light & Power crews available for outages.
"We are prepared for the snowstorm and have crews ready across our service territory should there be any outages," CL&P tweeted.
United Illuminating also had crews available if any outages were reported, according to Malloy.
For first responders, this type of weather impacts response times and how they keep people safe.
"The focus turns to traffic and responding to motor vehicle accidents," said Trooper First Class Brian Becker, who is a 19-year veteran of the Connecticut State Police.
Becker said many of the crashes were due to people traveling too fast for the conditions.
"We definitely have seen some cars traveling off the road, and travel off the road," Becker said.
Becker recommends paying attention to how close you are to the car in front of you.
"If you think three seconds is enough on a dry day, I'd double that on a winter day," Becker said. "We need people to slow it down, take it easy. If you don't have to go out, don't. Roads are just going to get worse tonight."
Since midnight on Thursday, AAA has received 870 calls for emergency road service in Greater Hartford and eastern Connecticut.
AAA officials said the call volume picked up late Thursday afternoon and many of the calls were for battery and tire problems, lockouts, and vehicles off the road.
Calls volumes are expected to drop Thursday night, and then spike again Friday and Saturday, AAA officials said.
Malloy authorized a staggered release of all state employees starting at 3 p.m., and he said he did that to avoid congestion on the highways during the peak evening commute.
"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," Department of Administrative Services Commissioner Donald DeFronzo said in a statement Thursday.
Malloy also advised private companies to do the same thing, and he said several complied with that request.
All non-essential state workers are being asked to report to work at 9:30 a.m. to give them extra travel time. If conditions change, Malloy said he will give an update on the employees' arrival time and employees can monitor the situation, by clicking here.
Stay with Channel 3 Eyewitness News for the latest information on Winter Storm Bethany.
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