[UPDATED] GMW STORM HUB: Your One-Stop Resource for December 2020 “Blockbuster” Nor’easter

An early-winter snowstorm dumped a foot of snow in December.

UPDATE, Thursday, Dec. 17, 6 p.m.Wilton Public Schools grades K-12 will have a two-hour delayed opening Friday, Dec. 18; Preschool is canceled. WPS crews worked on snow removal throughout the day but have concerns about refreezing overnight. The delayed opening will provide the needed time to sand and salt. Delayed opening times are:

Cider Mill:  9:40 a.m.
Middlebrook and WHS:  10:20 a.m.
Miller-Driscoll:  11:05 a.m.

UPDATE, Thursday, Dec. 17, 1 p.m.–From Wilton Police Chief John Lynch:  “Wilton received approximately 12 inches of snow throughout town. It appears the last snow band has arrived and should be clearing. The roadways are still a bit slippery but are improving and the ice appears to be melting. The winds are still present with some blowing snow so please use caution.

“The temperature is forecast to remain low (at or below freezing) with winds gusts between 10-20 mph. There will be periods of sun that will help melt the ice but the temperatures are expected to remain cold which may cause refreezing overnight.

“There were very few power issues and Eversource is currently showing no outages in Wilton. No roadways are blocked by fallen trees or branches.”

Daniel PassinoStudent Transportation of America‘s assistant terminal manager at the Wilton bus barn sent in a photo of the school buses covered in snow, and wrote: “Our Staff Snow crew is working diligently at the moment clearing the windows, mirrors, and roof’s for a Friday morning rollout!”

Photo: Tamara Conway

UPDATE, Thursday, Dec. 17, 11:15 a.m.Eversource is reporting 15 Wilton customers without power.

UPDATE, Thursday, Dec. 17, 9 a.m.–Most town employees are working remotely. Email or phone contact information is available on each department’s webpage.

Village Market is closed for the day. Store manager Nancy Dolnier said with so many employees coming from such a far distance, they don’t want to put anyone at risk.

Wilton Hardware:  Plans are to open Thursday for normal business hours, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Wilton Library:  Wilton Library and the Drive-Thru are closed today, Thursday, Dec. 17, due to the snowstorm and dangerous travel conditions. Access the digital library resources 24/7 online. Reference librarians are available today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to answer any queries. Please call 203.762.6350 or email. Virtual programs will still take place as scheduled. Visit the website and/or call 203.762.3950 for any updates to this information.

Wilton Family Y:  The YMCA is CLOSED and will remain closed through Thursday, Dec. 17.

Open House Gift Shop: Open House will be closed Thursday and open Friday at 10 a.m.

Conservatory of Dance:  Studio is closed Thursday, Dec. 17.

UPDATE, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 6 p.m.–Wilton’s Director of Emergency Operations/Police Chief John Lynch reports that while snow has started falling, officials expect the storm to ramp up around 8 p.m. The latest track has Wilton on the edge between 8-12 inches and 12-18 inches.

Wilton’s Department of Public Works spent Wednesday loading up the trucks, double-checking that everything is working, and where necessary, making repairs and adjustments, according to DPW Director Chris Burney. He adds that the trucks were sent out Wednesday afternoon to start sanding and salting in advance of the storm.

Lynch echoes Burney’s report on preparation. “Public Works is in full operational mode and the roadways are prepped, the Fire Department, WVAC and Police Department have extra personnel on hand for the duration of the storm. We will be in contact with Eversource in the event there are power outages etc.”

Gov. Ned. Lamont has said that government offices will be closed on Thursday, Dec. 17.

He was joined by the commissioners of Emergency Operations and Transportation, asking residents to please stay off the roads, both for their own safety and to not endanger the public road workers, police, responders, medical professionals, etc. who have to be working despite the storm.

One other thing the governor was asked about was how he felt about snow days vs. remote learning. Lamont said he thought snow days were “antiquated,” and saw no issue with schools conducting remote learning during the snowstorm.

Updated Forecast

Wednesday Evening and Overnight: Snow is forecast to spread into the state from southwest to northeast between 5-9 p.m., and will become very heavy at times between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., with snowfall rates between 1.5-3 inches per hour. The snow should be dry and will stick to the roads very quickly but is not expected to stick to trees or powerlines.

Low temperatures are forecast to range from the low- to mid-20s with wind chills in the single digits. Strong northeast winds gusting to 30-40 MPH at times will also cause some blowing and drifting of the snow reducing visibility to near zero at times. Driving overnight will be very hazardous. Minor coastal flooding can be expected around the time of high tide just after midnight from Greenwich to East Haven.

Thursday Morning: Moderate to heavy snow early in the rush hour is expected to taper off to lighter snow by 9 a.m., and the impact on the morning rush hour is expected to be moderate to major especially on roads that are not fully plowed overnight. Continued north winds may cause some additional blowing and drifting of snow through the rush hour. Total snowfall is forecast to range from 4-8 inches along the immediate southeast coast, 8-12 inches in southeastern and far-eastern CT, 12-18 inches along the I-84 corridor, and up to 18-24 inches in the northwest hills.

ADJUSTED BUSINESS HOURS

Wilton Transfer Station:  The Transfer Station will be closed on Thursday, Dec. 17. All available DPW employees will be performing road plowing following the winter storm. The Transfer Station will reopen on Saturday, Dec. 19 from 9 a.m-12 p.m.

If you must visit a town department on Thursday, please check the Town’s website for any possible delayed openings. All departments are reachable through email. See the desired department’s webpage for email information.

Wilton Family YMCA:  The Y is now closed (as of 5 p.m. Wednesday) and will remain closed through Thursday, Dec. 17, due to the forecasted inclement weather. The Y will have regular hours on Friday, Dec. 18.

Village Market:  As of Wednesday, Village Market is planning on pushing back its opening time on Thursday, Dec. 17, to 12 noon.

Wilton Hardware:  Plans are to open Thursday for normal business hours, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Wilton Library:  Wilton Library and the Drive-Thru are closed today, Thursday, Dec. 17, due to the snowstorm and dangerous travel conditions. Access the digital library resources 24/7 online. Reference librarians are available today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to answer any queries. Please call 203.762.6350 or email. Virtual programs will still take place as scheduled. Visit the website and/or call 203.762.3950 for any updates to this information.

Wilton Public Schools will Operate on Remote Inclement Weather Schedule

Wilton Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith announced that, due to “high confidence in the storm forecast,” the district will conduct remote learning operating on a shortened day schedule for Thursday, Dec. 17. If there happens to be widespread power outages or other circumstances that necessitate a complete cancellation, an announcement will be made no later than 6 a.m. Thursday.

Miller-Driscoll 9:15 a.m.-1:15 pm.
Cider Mill 7:45-11:55 a.m.
Middlebrook 8:20 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Wilton High School 8:20 a.m.-12:30 p.m.​​​​​​​

ORIGINAL STORY–Wednesday, Dec. 16, 5:20 A.M.:

A winter storm warning is in effect for the “blockbuster” Nor’easter headed toward Wilton, likely carrying more snow in one storm than we received in all of last winter. The warning is in effect from 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16 to 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17.

This article will be your GOOD Morning Wilton hub for coverage of the storm. We’ll update all information and alerts we get from the state and Wilton Emergency Management Director/Police Chief John Lynch, as well as any news on power outages and instructions from officials.

Two low-pressure systems will merge and form a strong winter storm off the Virginia coast that will make its way north up to the New Jersey coast in the predawn hours on Thursday. The storm is then expected to turn to the east and move south of Long Island during rush hour Thursday morning and then out to sea by Thursday afternoon.

As of Tuesday evening, the National Weather Service is warning of heavy snow expected, with total snow accumulations of 12-16 inches. Wind gusts may reach as high as 45 mph along the coast.

The warning covers portions of northeast New Jersey, southern Connecticut and southeast New York, including the Lower Hudson Valley.

First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice provided links to sign-up for town alerts as well as other important contacts:

  • Subscribe to road closing alerts from the Wilton Police Department as well as storm-related or other alerts from the First Selectwoman.
  • Eversource outage alerts and outage map
  • Optimum: Online, message or Tweet to @Optimumhelp or call 866.950.3278
  • SeeClickFix for non-911 emergency issue reporting to the Town

On Tuesday, Gov. Ned Lamont announced that the state’s Emergency Operations Center, which is already activated for response to the coronavirus pandemic, will remain activated to monitor and respond to storm developments. In addition, crews from the Connecticut Department of Transportation began pre-treating road surfaces, bridges, and hills and valleys in higher elevations.

Detailed Forecast

Wednesday Afternoon: Becoming cloudy with highs in the upper-20s to around 30-degrees (F). Northeast winds gusting to 20-25 MPH by late afternoon.

Wednesday Evening and Overnight: Snow is forecast to spread into the state from southwest to northeast between 8-11 p.m. The snow is forecast to become very heavy at times between 1-5 a.m. with snowfall rates between 1.5-3 inches per hour. The snow should be dry and will stick to the roads very quickly. Low temperatures are forecast to range from the low- to mid-20s. Strong northeast winds gusting to 30-40 MPH at times will also cause some blowing and drifting of the snow reducing visibility to near zero at times. Driving overnight will likely be very hazardous.

Thursday Morning: Moderate to heavy snow early in the rush hour is expected to taper off to light snow by 9 a.m. The impact on the morning rush hour is expected to be moderate to major especially on roads that are not fully plowed overnight. Continued north winds may cause some additional blowing and drifting of snow thru the rush hour.

Total snowfall (see map) is forecast to range from 12-18 inches across most of the state. (Note: Any slight change in the track of this storm could still significantly change the snowfall forecast.)

Emergency officials warn travel could be very difficult to impossible, and hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute. Gusty winds and heavy wet snow could bring down scattered to numerous tree branches along the coast.

If travel is necessary, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in the vehicle in case of an emergency.

Eversource Planning for the Storm

Eversource officials have said the utility is prepared to respond to the snowstorm. Line and tree crews have been pre-positioned around the state to respond to any damage or outages and out-of-state crews have been brought in to assist with restoring power if needed. Eversource also has added customer care representatives to the company’s call centers for additional customer assistance during the storm.

Wilton Businesses

Village Market:  As of Wednesday, Village Market is planning on pushing back its opening time on Thursday, Dec. 17, to 12 noon.