With a winter storm and bitter cold temperatures expected over the next few days, Governor Dannel P. Malloy is urging residents to take it slow and avoid travel during the height of the storm Thursday night and has directed the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS), the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) to coordinate with 2-1-1 and Connecticut’s network of shelters to ensure that the state’s most vulnerable people are protected from the severe cold weather.
"I am asking residents to use caution as they head out for their Thursday and Friday commutes and give yourself some extra time to get to your destination," said Governor Malloy. "I am also asking that you avoid travel during the height of the storm Thursday night. We are also taking steps to make sure that we can take care of those in need of shelter. I urge anyone in need of shelter to call 2-1-1 and encourage local communities to consider opening warming centers or other facilities to help people in need.
"State emergency management officials are preparing for the potential impacts of this severe weather and continue to provide me with regular updates."
The current forecast is calling for light snow to begin after midnighttonight and continue through the day on Thursday with heavy blowing and drifting snow overnight Thursday into early Fridaymorning. Wind chills are expected to range from -5 F to -20 FThursday night and Friday. The National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Warnings for most of the state through Fridaymorning. Please stay alert for additional Watches and Warnings if they are issued.
Under the state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol, DEMHS activates its WebEOC communications network – an internet-based system that allows local, regional and state emergency management officials and first responders to share up-to-date information about a variety of situations and conditions. The system is used to monitor capacity at shelters across the state, enabling 2-1-1 to act as a clearinghouse to assist in finding shelter space for those who need it. Local officials, working through WebEOC, can alert 2-1-1 and the state when they open temporary shelters or warming centers.
DSS coordinates with 2-1-1 and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, as well as working with existing vendors to resolve transportation issues for people needing shelter during the period of severe cold.
DMHAS, meanwhile, has teams who specialize in working with homeless people to locate those who are at risk, spread the word about the 2-1-1 system, and encourage everyone to take advantage of the safety of shelters. The agency is also working with shelters to assess and meet the needs of individual clients during this cold snap.