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Wilton prepares for Friday snow; blizzard warning issued, Code Red announcement

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Update: 5 p.m. — Wilton First Selectman Bill Brennan issued a Code Red announcement at 4:54 p.m. Thursday urging citizens to “prepare now” for the impending storm, expected to start here Friday morning.

He warned of heavy snow accumulation, deteriorating road conditions and high winds up to 60 mph.

“Power outages are expected,” he said. “The time to prepare is now before the storm starts.”

If you suffer a power outage, notify CL&P by calling 1-800-286-2000 or visit cl-p.com.

Emergency information will be on the town website, wiltonct.org. The Bulletin website will announce emergency information as it becomes available.

•Email closings, openings, power outages and photos to editor@wiltonbulletin.com. Follow us on Twitter at @WiltonBulletin.•

Update: 4:30 p.m. — The National Weather Service has upgraded its winter storm watch to a blizzard warning, from 6 a.m. Friday to 1 p.m., Saturday. Accumulations of 18 to 24 inches of snow are possible.

Heavy snow and winds will make for dangerous driving with visibilities near zero in white-out conditions.

The weather service warns: Do not travel. If you must travel have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.

3:25 p.m. — It’s all hands on deck with Wilton’s preparations for the storm expected Friday into Saturday.

Wilton Fire Chief Paul Milositz, who is the town’s emergency director, said all department heads would be meeting at 3:45 Thursday afternoon for a pre-storm briefing.

“We will decide the EOC status,” he said of the Emergency Operations Center, which is in police headquarters. “The EOC will start off on a monitoring status, then go to a partial or full opening if needed.” Monitoring status means all officials are in contact with one another and the center is ready to be opened if necessary. “It’s a stand-by alert phase,” he said.

Both police and fire departments will bring on extra personnel, he said. “The fire department will bring on extra staff Friday afternoon and hold people over for Saturday morning,” he said.

“DPW is all hands on deck, gearing up as we speak.”

“Our concern is access to locations in town, especially if there are significant amounts of snowfall.”

If the EOC is not opened, officials will maintain contact with the town’s CL&P liaison by phone. The liaison will come to the EOC if it opens.

Most troubling to Chief Milositz is the forecast, which has not been very specific.

Right now, the National Weather Service has a winter storm watch in effect from Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon. Heavy snow, sleet, freezing rain and strong winds are all forecast, which could lead to hazardous driving conditions and downed power lines and trees.

Winds from the north at 15 to 25 mph are forecast with gusts up to 55 mph. Temperatures will be in the upper 20s. Visibility will be a half-mile or less at times.

Snow accumulations of 12 to 16 inches are possible.

Light snow is expected after 3 a.m. Friday morning. On Friday, the forecast is for snow before 3 p.m., then rain with a high near 37.

The worst of the weather will be overnight Friday, with high winds and heavy snow.

The skies are expected to clear Saturday afternoon.

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