Danbury prepares for the worst

Danbury officials said they are preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best, in the coming hours as the nor’easter continues to pummel the region with snow and wind.

Emergency management director Paul Estefan said the Danbury Airport was closed as of about 2 p.m. The facility likely won’t reopen until tomorrow afternoon, he said.

Estefan added that the city’s emergency shelter at the War Memorial is prepared to open if needed. At this point, however, much of that depends on weather conditions and potential power outages.  He said the shelter may not open until the worst of the storm is over., adding that it may not be possible for people to get to the shelter during white out conditions.

The emergency director said he has been in constant communication with Mayor Mark Boughton throughout the afternoon hours and officials may consider moving to a level three emergency this evening, which would ban traffic on local roadways, in order to clear snow away from Danbury streets.

Public works director Antonio Iadarola said he intends to keep all road open as much as possible during the late afternoon and evening hours, “even if its only one lane.”

At this point the worst of the storm, which means possible snow rates of three to five inches per hour along with strong wind gusts, is expected between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., Iadarola said.

He added however that one of the biggest challenges so far during the storm is the conflicting weather reports of possible snow accumulations and the quickly changing conditions.

“At this point we are preparing for the worst,” Iadarola said. “We are constantly monitoring the weather reports and will respond quickly to changing conditions.”

Local officials are expected to have an update from the governor’s office at around 5:30 p.m.

Dirk Perrefort