Storm to bring heavy snow, strong winds

Here comes the “lion” part of March.

This time, the wind is going to be more of a hazard than snow, forecasters say.

The approaching winter storm is likely to drop between 2 and 6 inches of heavy, wet snow across the area, WTNH meteorologist Sam Kantrow said. “You should take these figures with a grain of salt though, because they are very dependent on elevation,” he said. “You can be in the southern part of the state and if you are at a higher elevation, you’ll see more snow.”

Wind gusts of 50 miles per hour or more are likely to cause numerous power outages, officials said. The massive storm will reach our area this afternoon, with snow and sleet falling during the evening rush hour.

The storm is expected to be the most severe in the southeastern corner of the state, with 6 to 10 inches of snow possible in the New London area, according to the National Weather Service. Bridgeport and Danbury could see between 3 and 7 inches of snow, the noon NWS forecast said.

But it won’t clear out until midday Friday, after at least two high tide cycles that could bring coastal flooding. Strong winds could cause costal flooding, and tides are expected to be about 3.5 feet above normal, the NWS said. A winter weather advisory, a wind advisory and a coastal flood warning for southern Fairfield and New Haven counties will remain in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday.

United Illuminating Co., which serves most of lower Fairfield and New Haven counties, advises customers to prepare for the storm by stocking up on batteries, candles and bottled water. Once the winds die down, crews will focus first on restoring power to affected public safety facilities and then to efforts that will restore power to the largest number of customers.

“These winds could bring down tree branches and limbs as well as damage power lines, especially combined with any accumulating wet snow,” the NWS said in a Wednesday morning bulletin. “Driving will be difficult, especially on elevated roadways and bridges.”

The current storm is part of a system that started in Montana, hit the Dakotas and Minnesota on Monday and then barreled through Wisconsin and Illinois on its way to Washington.